The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5028.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 8:45 AM

Abstract #74039

Portion size influences food intake

Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, 1234 University Avenue, University Park, PA 16802, 555-123-1212,

Recent studies show that the portion size of food significantly affects food intake. The effect is robust and is seen for differenct types of foods. Increasing the portion of a food without a distinct shape such as macaroni and cheese, or a prepackaged snack food such as potato chips, or a food served as a single unit such as a sandwich, is associated with elevated energy intake. For example, doubling the portion of macaroni from 500 grams to 1000 grams increased energy intake by 30% (162 kcal), yet subjects reported similar ratings of hunger and fullness at the end of the meal. These lab-based studies extended to a restaurant setting where it was found that a 52% increase in the portion size of a popular pasta dish was associated with a 45% increase in energy intake (172 kcal). Furthermore, the customers rated the size of the portions as equally appropriate. A key question is whether, after such a bout of overeating, intake would be adjusted at the next meal. In a study in which the portions of all foods were increased at every eating occasion for two days, there was no indication that the effect decreased over time. When portions were doubled, mean daily intakes increased by 26% on both days (531 kcal/day for women, 806 kcal/day for men). It is likely that portions of energy-dense foods encourage excess intake, which could contribute to the development of obesity. This research is supported by NIH grants DK39177 and DK59853.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Portion Size: Linking Obesity, Consumer Attitudes and Policy Opportunities

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA