'Supersized', 'bigger bag', 'multipack' - have we forgotten what a normal portion is?

Kate Walker, from weight loss group BeNiceToYou.com, warns that bigger portions have become the norm

Published 22 June 2012  |  
Whilst it may appear that we consumers have won the battle of the supersized portions, I can report that we have not. All that has happened is that the very clever marketing people in the food manufacturing industry changed their language and span us a number of different lines with the same meaning.

“Bigger Bag” crisps, “multipack” chocolate bars and “buy 2 get one free” on Mars, Twix and Snickers are all just new ways to sell us more products - new ways to say “Supersize”.

Supersized portions are again on the rise and just because the marketing people call it something else, like “The Kid’s Challenge” (named as such because it weighs as much as a child at 9lb of food” doesn’t make it okay”.

In the TV programme “The men who made us fat” (BBC2 at 9:00pm), the presenter takes on the “challenge”, an emotive word that makes eating the huge meal sound like a victory and the
eater a potential hero. Man Vs Food is another popular TV show depicting the overconsumption of massive portions of food as some kind of conquering of Everest event.

As a consequence, we are losing our perspective on what a normal portion looks like. I can remember when a cheeseburger (300kcal) with small fries (230kcal) was considered the normal thing to order at MacDonald’s, with the Big Mac being something of a challenge to be attempted only rarely, and whilst the nutritional value of Cheeseburger and Fries may be questionable,
it was certainly enough food to stave off hunger till your next meal.

Now the burger of choice seems to be the Big Mac (540kcal) and this has been supplanted as the challenge in the consciousness by the Angus DeLuxe at (750kcal).

So the marketers are still doing an excellent job of moving the goalposts and getting us to buy more and more food. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that by choosing the Cheeseburger you are selecting the “Lighter” option.

So next time you fancy the Angus Deluxe with large fries and a triple thick shake, remember that the 1810kcal it contains is almost your entire recommended calorie intake for the whole day in just one
meal.

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