You go to the market place, to the restaurant, to the coffee shop, and place your order. Over the years as you became older, bigger, and stronger, so too did the portion sizes of what you ate and drank. We hardly think of it as we transition from youth to adulthood, given how natural it seems and how logical it feels. Yet, as we slowly plateau at our peak years and as our body’s requirements level off, our meals and drinks have continued to grow up with or without us.
In today’s Starbucks generation, a small size drink suitable for a child is 8 fluid ounces; the largest drink sizes available are upwards of 30. Sixty years ago, a regular cup of coffee for an adult would have been 6.5 fluid ounces, with the largest cups of that period, the “king-size,” irking out only 12, what we would consider to be a small-sized drink by today’s standards.
Of course, market growth has never been a homogenous distribution; some grew by even more extremes. Take for example the Original Hershey chocolate bar. When it was first introduced, it weighed only 0.6 ounce; now the range stretches from 1.6 to 8 ounces - over ten times larger than the original. Fast food and baked goods, including cookies and muffins have also grown up to 8 times larger.
It is a scary trend when put into perspective of the growing obesity epidemic. Already, 26 percent of Canadian children between the ages of 2-17 years old are overweight or obese. Projecting this trend forward should it continue, we can expect 70% of 35-44 year olds in Canada to be overweight or obese in 20 years.
So next time when you order something, ask yourself if it is the right portion size for you.