Supersizing hits home

February 19, 2009 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

CB005656 The enormity of restaurant portions is well known, and countless strategies have been developed for dealing with them: ordering only appetizers, immediately putting half your meal in a to-go bag, even staying home rather than going out to eat.

Now, it turns out that eating in may be as dangerous to your waistline as dining out.  A study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that cookbook recipes have significantly higher calorie counts than in the past.

“The study, which looked at how classic recipes have changed during the past 70 years, found a nearly 40 percent increase in calories per serving for nearly every recipe reviewed, about an extra 77 calories.”

Although the trend has been noted in other cookbooks, the study focused primarily on the classic “Joy of Cooking” cookbook, first published in the 1930s, discovering that…

“Only the chili con carne recipe remained unchanged through the years. The chicken gumbo, however, went from making 14 servings at 228 calories each in the 1936 edition, to making 10 servings at 576 calories each in the 2006 version.”

“And changes in “Joy of Cooking” have been going on for a while. Increases in overall calories per recipe have been gradual, but portion sizes tended to jump, first during the ’40s, again during the ’60s, and with the largest jump in the 2006 edition.”

Add a decade, expand a portion.  A brownie recipe that yielded 30 brownies in the 60s now delivers 15 brownies.  A chocolate chip cookie recipe that made 100 cookies initially now provides only 60.

So what do you do about it?  Unfortunately, being aware isn’t enough.  You have to be as vigilant at home as you are on the road.  Make smaller cookies or brownies.  Or, adapt your restaurant strategies for home: don’t eat a full portion, saving the extra for another meal.

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Entry filed under: clean eating, coping strategies, diet recommendations, recipes, tips & techniques.

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