How Food Servings Have More Than Doubled in the Past 20 Years

Why You’re Eating Double the Amount of Food You NeedOne of the reasons why you may find yourself a little bigger than you used to be is because serving sizes have gone up over the last 20 years. It’s not your imagination: it’s now easier than ever to eat double what you actually need to be eating. And the bigger the serving size, the more you eat—one of the reasons why over 30% of Americans are overweight or obese.

To put things in perspective, here’s a list of popular American foods and their serving sizes. We’ll compare today’s numbers with those of 20 years ago.

Food20 Years AgoToday
Bagel3 inches in diameter, 140 caloriesAlmost twice the size in diameter, 350 calories
Cheeseburger333 calories590 calories
Spaghetti and Meatballs1 cup of spaghetti and three meatballs, 500 calories2 cups of spaghetti and three meatballs, 1,025 calories
Soda6.5 oz, 85 calories20 oz, 250 calories
French Fries2.4 oz, 210 calories6.9 oz, 610 calories
Turkey Sandwich320 calories10-inch sandwich, 820 calories
Coffee8 oz (with milk and sugar), 45 calories16-oz mocha coffee, 350 calories
Blueberry Muffin1.5 oz., 210 calories5 oz., 500 calories
Pizza2 slices of a large pepperoni pizza, 500 calories2 slices of a large pepperoni pizza, 850 calories
Chicken Caesar Salad1.5 cups, 390 calories3 cups, 790 calories
Theater Popcorn5 cups, 270 calories1 tub, 630 calories
Cheesecake3 oz, 260 caloriesLarge piece, 640 calories

There’s no reason why serving sizes should increase this much, and it’s a big contributor to the rising obesity epidemic. To avoid this problem, watch what you eat: you don’t need to order the largest soda on the menu, even if you think that’s what will get you the most bang for your buck. Ultimately, your health is worth a lot more.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Portion Distortion,” Department of Health and Human Services web site,, last accessed June 12, 2013.
“How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site,, last accessed June 12, 2013.