‘Right-sized’ food labels

By Amanda Hill
Texas Farm Bureau

My husband and I just took a road trip to visit family in Arkansas. On the way, we swung through the drivethrough of one of our favorite fast food restaurants. All I wanted was a quarter-pound cheeseburger, a few fries and a small lemonade.

We pulled up to the box, and my husband ordered my meal. They asked him what size. He blurted out “medium,” not giving it much thought. Before I could correct him, I had a bag full of French fries and a huge drink passed my way. It was much more food than I needed—or wanted.

Is it just me, or have our portions become pretty ridiculous? What used to be a large is now labeled “medium” or “regular” with a monstrous size or two offered above that. We consider it a value to pay just a few cents more for 12 extra ounces of Dr Pepper and twice as many fries. No wonder obesity is a national epidemic.

A recent study by researchers at Cornell University found that food labels inf luence how much we eat. When a smaller portion was labeled “half-size” and a larger portion was labeled “regular,” people were inclined to eat more. Likewise, when the smaller portion was called “regular” and the larger was called “double-size,” people ate less. The label guided their perception of acceptable food portions.

I think I should start a column called the “Common Sense Corner.” Like I said in a previous article, it seems like we’re losing common sense when it comes to what we eat. Don’t let food labels dictate your hunger. Think about what and how much you’re eating. A little common sense could go a long way in “right-sizing” our country.

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2013-08-29 digital edition

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