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you & food

a manageable guide to portion control.

Lisa R Young, PH.D., R.D.

you & food

a manageable guide to portion control.

Lisa R Young, PH.D., R.D.

Published by Morgan Road Books, an imprint of The Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. Morgan Road Books and the M colophon are trademarks of Random House, Inc. Disclaimer: This book is not intended to take the place of medical advice from a trained medical professional. Readers are advised to consult a physician or other qualified health professional regarding treatment of their medical problems. Neither the publisher nor the author takes any responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action, or application of medicine, herb, or preparation to any person reading or following the information in this book.

YOU & FOOD. PORTION CONTROL EVEN YOU CAN HANDLE. Copyright Š 2005 by Lisa R. Young. Reprint 2011 All Rights Reserved PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Book design by Vicki Heda Interior illustrations by Vicki Heda ISBN 0-7679-2068-6

In memory of my beloved grandparents To my grandmother, Celia Aronson, for her strength and determination throughout her life, and for inspiring me and encouraging me to pursue a career in nutrition. And to my grandfather, Jessie Aronson, whose words of wisdom—follow it up, keep the door open, and always leave a sweet taste—remain with me forever. You both taught me to think big and start small.








one | america expands


two | the portion teller visuals


three | food groups and serving sizes


four | size matters


five | your portion personality


six | the portion teller eating plan


seven | smartsize your life




appendix a | measuring up


appendix b | portion teller diary


appendix c | portion teller progress sheet


appendix d | serving sizes of most foods in all food groups


appendix e | the portion teller meal plans


appendix f | size-inflation time line





•chapter one•

america expands


1970’s average pizza pie

Today Pizza Hut Full House XL Pizza •10•

Today Little Ceasers Big! Big! Pizza

M&M/ Mars Candy bars


times the size



Hershey Bar Weight Increases Over Time

chocolate 8 oz 7 oz 4 oz 2.6 oz 1.6 oz 0.6 oz


diet foods mid


weight watchers lean cuisine


larger portion sizes

HEARTY PORTIONS more calories


The irony of diet food that advertised bigger sizes with more calories seems lost in the diet industry. •12•

coffee 20 oz

Starbucks Drink Sizes

Venti 16 oz Grande 12 oz Tall 8 oz Short




restaurants in Italy, where several swirls of a fork will finish off an entire plate of fettuccine. Cappuccino can be found only in one small size. This is the reason that my client Jackie routinely loses twenty pounds every time she takes her annual summer trip to Europe. I hear this over and over again from American tourists in Italy: “I ate all the time—pasta, cheese, bread, even pizzas—and still lost weight.” The reason: They are eating less be-cause the portions are much smaller.


Here’s the bottom line: No matter what you eat, no matter how healthy it is, no matter what the label says—dietetic, low-fat, no-carb—the bigger the size, the more calories it has. And if you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. It doesn’t matter if you eat low-fat, fruit-sweetened bran muffins until the cows come home; if you’re eating ten of them a day, you’re going to gain weight. Expanding portions sizes is the primary reason that we are facing an obesity epidemic. Calories add up quickly when the portion sizes are so large. Nutrition authorities recommend that we eat approximately 2,000 to 2,600 calories a day to stay the same

Healthy Choice adds Extra Portions dinners

1992 15 OZ

SWANSON’S Hungry-Man frozen dinners

Oscar Mayer

21.6 OZ

hotdogs added

Heineken bottle introduced

Big and Juicy Lender's sells Big 'N Crusty bagels •14•

24 OZ

Arizona iced tea introduced

63% increase Thomas sandwichsize English muffin

weight, while older, sedentary women, and young children should have a bit less and active men and teenage boys a bit more. To put this in perspective, a breakfast bagel and a slice of pizza add up to nearly half of the calories recommended for an entire day. Once you add the cream cheese, a soda, and dinner at a Chinese restaurant, your calorie count for the day can easily top 3,000. But who can look at food and know how many calories are in it? Nobody, not even the experts. I was asked by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy group in Washington, D.C., to study how accurately dietitians are able to judge the calorie con-tent of different restaurant meals. We showed 200 dietitians five plates of food that are actually served in restaurants—lasagna, a Caesar salad with chicken, a tuna salad sandwich, a porter-house steak platter, and a hamburger with onion rings. We asked the dietitians to tally up the dam-age, and guess what? Although they were all seasoned professionals, they had no idea how many calories were in these foods. Some underestimated the calories by as much as half.

40% increase


Pillsbury Grands! Biscut

Twix bars

Little Caesars Pizza by the foot

When Marian Burros, a renowned food and nutrition writer for the New York Times, heard about the experiment, she decided to put four experts—Dr. Marion Nestle, my NYU thesis advisor (and now Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition); Dr. Isobel Contento, chair of Columbia University Teacher’s College program in nutrition; Gaynelle Clay-Williams, then a doctoral candidate at Columbia and obesity researcher at St. Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital; and me—in the hot seat. We were given eight heaping plates of fatty food and were quizzed on the calorie and fat content. It was a disaster. We were all over the place with every single dish, either under or over on calories or fat. Not one of us was remotely on target. If the nutrition experts can’t figure out the calories in a restaurant meal, who can? This is why calorie counting is useless. It works only in a completely controlled environment with carefully weighed and calibrated food. We are not llab rats. We do not eat and live in a sealed-off bubble, like the space shuttle, where calories are measured by laboratory analysis. If you eat a reastaurant for only one meal of the day, you have completely lost count of your calorie intake. This was the case with my client Barb. She came McDonald’s


1993 12.5 inches

Restaurant dinner plates grow.


Mega Mac

Pizza Hut

Big Foot Pizza

Domino’s Dominator

•chapter two•




meat or poultry; fish such as tuna or slalmon steak

3 oz

deck of cards

fleshy white fish, such as flounder, sole, etc.

3 oz


meat or poultry

1 oz


peanut butter

2 tbs

salad dressing

2 tbs

olive oil or sald dressing

1 tsp

water bottle cap

butter or margarine

1 tsp

postage stamp

cold cereal; berries; popcorn

1 cup


rice or pasta, cooked

1/2 cup

1/2 baseball

ice cream

1/2 cup

1/2 baseball


walnut in the shell shot glass

tomato sauce

1/2 cup

1/2 baseball

pretzels (1 ounce)

3/4 cup


bread (1 once)

1 slice

CD case


4-inch diameter


hard cheese

1 ounce


cheese slice, sandwich meat

1 ounce


baked potato or sweet potato

1 potato


nuts; dried fruits; granola

1/4 cup

golf ball


3/4 cup

yogurt cup

apple, peach, etc.

1 piece of fruit

baseball •19•

•appendix d•

serving sizes of most foods in all food groups

Nonstartchy Vegetables raw 1 cup

Alfalfa Sprouts Artichokes Asparagus Bamboo Shoots Bean Sprouts Beats Broccoli Brusslel Sprouts Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Celery Cucumber Eggplant Fennel Green Beans Greens Kohlrabi





1 cup

1/2 cup

Leeks Mushrooms Okra Onions Pea Pods Peppers Radishes Salid Greens Scallions Snow Peas Spaghetti Squash Spinach Sugar Snap Peas Summer Squash Tomatos Water Chesnuts Watercress Zucchini

Fish, Poultry and meat

Apple Applesauce Appricots Bannana Black Berries Blue Berries Canned Fruit Cantaloupe Cherries Clementines Figs Fruit Salad Grapefruit Grames Honeydew

Kiwi Fruit Mango Nectarine Orange Papaya Peach Pear Persimmon Pineapple Plum Raspberries Strawberries Tangerine Watermellon


3 ounces

Beef Bass Buffalo Chicken Cornish Hen Cod Crab Flounder Haddock Halibut Grouper Lamb Liver Lobster

Ocean Perch Oysters Pork Red Snapper Salmon Sardinessole Scallops Shrimp Swordfish Tilapia Tuna Turkey Veal Venison

cup 1/2pasta

ounces spaghetti

cups 4 spaghetti

cup macaroni

cups 2macaroni


tbs rice




cups 4rice

cup popcorn

cups 4popcorn

cup oatmeal

cup 1oatmeal




cup rice




ounce pasta


food yields chicken, fish, or beef


chicken, fish, or beef

HOW MUCH ARE YOU REALLY EATING? if you think these servings seem small.

YOU & FOOD will teach you how to understand portion sizes so that you can lose weight and stop dieting, no matter what your Portion Personality might be. Are you a Mindless Muncher who snacks all day, a Dinner Lover who enjoys one big meal a day, or maybe a Volume Eater who always wants to sit down with a huge plate of food at every meal? No matter what you eating habits, YOU & FOOD offers a personalized eating plan that is right for you. Instead of giving up the foods you love, learn to smartsize them with the help of one of the country’s leading nutritionists.

Lisa R Young, PH.D., R.D.

MORE than you think, especially

you & food

A baseball of cereal, a golf ball of jelly beans, eight dice of cheese, a yo-yo sized bagel, a computer mouse-sized potato, a deck of cards-sized steak, a tennis ball of pretzels...

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