Super-sizing great for your wallet but not your waist

May 06, 2008

From mega mugs of soda that don't even fit into the average car cup holder to jumbo orders of fries that could feed an elephant, many fast-food restaurants are offering super-sized portions that appear to be easy on the pocketbook.

Although super-sizing your fast-food meal may seem like a real bargain, you may pay for the extra calories later, according to a foods expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"A meal that includes a quarter-pound cheeseburger, a large regular soda and large fries gives you almost your entire daily requirement for calories (1,400) and fat (55 grams)," says Mandel Smith, nutrition educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Montgomery County.

"If you super-size this meal by increasing the portion size of the fries and soda, the calories can top 1,540," Smith says. "Super-sizing a fast-food meal may cost less than a dollar more, but you may end up super-sizing your waist by eating lots of fat and calories that your body does not need."

Smith points out that portion sizes, in general, are larger today than in the past. "As a result of portions getting bigger, people are getting bigger," she says. "On average, consumption of an additional 100 calories daily beyond your needs can lead to a weight gain of 10 pounds per year."

Smith offers the following suggestions that can help you avoid the super-size trap:

--Review the nutrition facts sheet when you visit a fast-food restaurant.

--Consider how hungry you are before you order. "Pay close attention to your fullness," she advises. "Eat at a slower pace and enjoy each bite. Give your body the chance to feel full. Avoid eating the entire meal just because it is there."

--Share a meal with a family member or friend. "Many times, the portions given are enough for more than one person," Smith notes.

--Avoid fried foods and foods high in fat. "You can order foods that are baked, broiled, grilled or roasted," she says. "If you are not sure how a dish on the menu is prepared, ask the server."

--Instead of fries, consider a side salad with a fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing.

--Order a diet soft drink or plain water.

--Skip the mayonnaise when ordering your favorite fast-food burger.

Smith also advises ordering a small, regular or junior burger. "A small burger may be large enough for you," she says.

Source: Penn State

Explore further: Parental smoking puts nearly half a million UK children into poverty

Related Stories

NSA winds down once-secret phone-records collection program

6 hours ago

The National Security Agency has begun winding down its collection and storage of American phone records after the Senate failed to agree on a path forward to change or extend the once-secret program ahead of its expiration ...

Pipeline that leaked wasn't equipped with auto shut-off

6 hours ago

The pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil on the California coast was the only pipe of its kind in the county not required to have an automatic shut-off valve because of a court fight nearly three ...

Uber drivers fined in Hungary

7 hours ago

The Hungarian tax authority fined Uber drivers in its first probe against the ride-sharing service which the economy ministry said Saturday "ignores passenger safety" and must be made to follow regulations.

Recommended for you

House call primary care practices vary substantially

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Home-based primary care practices vary in terms of size and approaches to quality of care assessment, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics So ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

AJW
not rated yet May 07, 2008
Serving up more re - hash.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.