June 07, 2012
The Ban and the Big Gulp
I found the uproar that followed Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s announcement last week very interesting as he proposed a municipal ban on the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks that are larger than 16 fluid ounces in New York City restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas, delis and street carts. Reactions to the announcement ranged from those who congratulated the mayor on his campaign to combat rising obesity to those who view the proposed ban as a huge infringement on their rights. In spite of the ongoing debate over the proposed ban, I think that we all can agree on the fact that portions have increased over time and are a major contributing factor to the obesity problem in the United States. A 2003 article on expanding portion sizes in the US, published in the Journal The American Dietetic Association, states that most marketplace portions exceed standard serving sizes by at least a factor of 2 and sometimes 8-fold. Serving sizes at fast-food chains are often 2 to 5 times larger than the original size. For me personally, portion control has always been a problem. Overall, I am eating foods that are good for me—just too much of them. A better understanding of what constitutes a standard serving size (USDA) would be beneficial to me and probably the vast majority of people, the goal being to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Sources I find useful in my pursuit of a better understanding of standard serving sizes include MyPlate.gov, which provides Americans with a relatively simple message – fill your plate with a little more than ¼ vegetables, a little less than ¼ fruit, ¼ grains (make at least half of them “whole”), and ¼ lean protein. Top it off with a glass of 1% or non-fat milk and you’re good to go. LIVESTRONG.COM weighs in with an informative article entitled “USDA Recommended Serving Sizes” and the American Institute for Cancer Research provides a Serving Size Finder. These sites are all helpful in understanding how much we should be eating from the different food groups. Using this information in conjunction with our EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale and FREE Calorie Factor Book, I am able to accurately count calories and eliminate most of the guesswork regarding correct serving size and portion control. Regarding the brouhaha over the proposed ban, my feelings are more in line with Jeff Halevy, “I'd love to see the Big Gulp yanked -- not due to legislation, but due rather to poor sales from a healthy, educated consumer”. What’s your opinion? Please share in the comments below! About the Author: Maria Geronimo is the Public Relations Director at EatSmart Products.