Commenting, Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition, safefood said:
While we are now familiar with the idea of healthy eating, we’re probably less familiar with the idea of healthy portion sizes. Traditionally, we’ve been brought up to finish everything on our plate and we tend to equate bigger portions with generosity and value. But with 2 in 3 adults overweight or obese², the issue of portion size is relevant to all of us and we need to cut down on the portions we’re eating of most foods”.
“Eating an extra 100 calories every day can lead to weight gain of 4.5kg in a year and this can easily happen. We know from previous research that some takeaway portions contain enough food for two people while the portion size of some manufactured products have increased significantly since the 1990s. And when it comes to foods with a ‘halo’ of being somehow healthier, these are viewed as a licence to enjoy a bigger portion.”
The research also revealed tips identified by consumers which they have found helpful in cutting down on their portion sizes – these included eating until satisfied (rather than full), filling up with water, vegetables or fruit and eating more slowly.
“When it comes to controlling their portion sizes, 1 in 3 people tell us it can be a challenge³ so we’re focusing on the home setting as that’s where we can have the greatest impact on the amount and type of foods we prepare and eat”, added Dr Foley-Nolan. “We’ve developed practical visual portion size guides on our website so consumers can find out just what size portions we should be eating for health.”
The research report “Consumer understanding of food portion sizes” is available to download from safefood.eu.