It’s no secret that Americans tend to be more obese than Europeans but why? I recently found an interesting study over at Barking up the wrong tree.
They decided to investigate the amount of food people get at restaurants so Rozin equipped his research team with portable digital scales and sent them to restaurants in Paris and Philadelphia to weigh portion sizes.
The results Rozin got were remarkable:
Across all the restaurants studied, American servings were about 25 percent larger. Even identical chain restaurants, which place a high value on standardization, differed between cities. Compare a McDonald’s or Pizza Hut in Philadelphia with one in Paris, and you’ll find the Philadelphian servings to be about 1.3 times larger.
A large soda is not as large in Paris (530g) as it is in Philly (545g); a medium serving of French fries is 90g in the French capital, 155g in Philadelphia.
Prepared foods from American supermarkets have portion sizes about 1.4 times larger than those in French supermarkets. Even American cookbooks tend to up the serving size by a factor of 0.25 over their French counterparts.
Every time a friend of mine visits The U.S. they come back complaining about how much weight they gained, referring to the potion sizes being so much bigger. Finally, this study seems to prove them right.
So, if you’re living in the U.S. or are about to visit – make sure you really check the amount of calories and don’t rely on information from Europe.