Restaurant Serving Sizes – Survey

Restaurant Serving Sizes – Survey

Restaurant Serving Sizes – Survey

How much is a “serving”? Is it the same as a “portion”? Are restaurant meals getting bigger, especially compared to meals you make at home? How are people supposed to know how much to eat, anyway?

“In an era of super-sized meals, many consumers are confused, not only about things like the difference between a serving and a portion, but also about the amounts of food they believe they should eat, both at home and while dining out,” said Miami registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokesperson Sheah Rarback.

Restaurant Serving Sizes - Survey
Restaurant Serving Sizes – Survey

According to the results of ADA’s latest nationwide public opinion survey, Nutrition and You: Trends 2002, Americans tend to overestimate the recommended serving sizes for many foods. For example, fewer than half of the respondents accurately estimated the recommended serving sizes of cooked pasta, lean meat or vegetables.

In restaurants:

  • Sixty-five percent said they eat what they want and take the rest home
  • Twenty-seven percent eat what they want and leave the rest on their plate
  • Seven percent said they try to eat the entire meal anyway
  • Overall, 14 percent of men said they try to eat the entire meal, compared with three percent of women.

SOURCE: 2001,

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