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Why Our Instincts Are Wrong On Portion Size


The belief that the Goldilocks portion that most of us select is the ‘right’ size is debunked by analysis carried out for low-calorie dressing company Tigg’s.

The analysis shows that when it comes to helping ourselves to common foods, we lose all sense of a portion.

More than half of those asked to select an appropriate size from a range of pictures, helped themselves to more than triple the recommended serving size printed on the nutritional information label for a range of products, including salad dressing and breakfast cereal, piling on unexpected calories in the process.

Respondents were asked to identify how much dressing they put on a salad lunch. Around half of respondents chose a helping more than three times bigger than the standard serving size.

The responses were even more striking for a bowl of cereal. In each case, more than two thirds chose a helping that was at least three times bigger than the standard serving size. Only 1 in 10 chose the serving size listed in the nutrition panel on the side of the cereal packet.

“One answer is in selecting foods that are a better calorie match for the quantity that we need.” said Sam James from Tigg’s.  “It is perfectly possible to add enough healthy dressing to spice up our salads to our tastes, but we need to be choosing the right products or be a bit more careful with the ones that are fattier”.

“In some cases, a couple of spoonfuls of dressing could have as many calories as a huge slice of chocolate cake.  That doesn’t do our waistbands any favours. It’s all about knowing what you’re eating. The risk otherwise, is that our eyes won’t be bigger than our bellies for long.”