Portion Distortion Web Site: Learn How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain by Watching Portion Sizes
During the holiday season, when gatherings and even shopping trips
are often centered on food, weight gain can seem unavoidable. But
watching portion sizes can help prevent those extra pounds.
New additions to the "Portion Distortion Interactive Quiz"
section of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI)
Web Site show the difference in size and calories between portions
offered 20 years ago and what is often a standard serving today.
"This site not only teaches people how portion sizes have changed
and calories have increased, but also the amount of physical activity
one has to do to burn up those extra calories," said Karen
Donato, S.M., R.D., coordinator of NHLBI's Obesity Education Initiative.
For instance, you can still enjoy holiday cookies, as long as you
know the calories they contain. Today, some cookies provide 220
more calories than those that were offered 20 years ago. After snacking
on today's bigger cookie, you would need to wash your car for over
an hour to burn off those extra calories.
And watch for those foods that may seem healthier for you. For instance,
even a chicken Caesar salad can pack on the calories. One offered
20 years ago typically contained 390 calories, compared to more
than 700 in those served today. You would have to walk your dog
for over an hour to burn those additional calories.
Since its debut over two years ago, the site has been a popular
way to get people to think about their food portions and the calories
they contain. This newer version includes eight additional common
foods and beverages such as a slice of pizza, specialty coffees,
and muffins. These are items that many people consume everyday without
thinking about the caloric content. A mocha coffee typically contains
350 calories and a large muffin has 500 calories, so be prepared
to take at least a two-hour hike to walk off your breakfast.
"We hope that people will apply what they have learned about
portion sizes to those special holiday dishes," said Donato.
The new Portion Distortion Web Site also contains tools that
can be downloaded to help health educators and dietitians with
clients. These include PowerPoint slides and a card that shows
appropriate serving sizes which can be used as a quick reference
The "Portion Distortion Interactive Quiz" is part of the
Aim for a Healthy Weight program offered by NHLBI's Obesity Education
The NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative was established in 1991 to
help reduce the prevalence of overweight, obesity and physical inactivity
in order to lower the risk of developing heart disease and other
The quiz can be accessed at http://hin.nhlbi.nih.gov/portion/. To
interview Karen Donato, contact the NHLBI Communications Office
NHLBI press releases, fact sheets and other materials are
available online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
Additional information on NHLBI's Obesity Education Initiative,
including a BMI calculator, is available online at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/oei/index.htm.