Portion Sizes in American versus Other Countries

Rachel Spinella
Features Editor

When it comes to going out to eat, here in America we tend to think of a nice juicy burger with many different toppings on it, and a nice large order of crispy fries to go with it. This is partly due to our taste, and partly due to our culture. In the U.S. our servings or quantity of food is much larger than in other countries like Europe or Asia. 

In countries like the UK or Japan, portion sizes differ as do the intakes of certain types of foods. 

According to Yourweightmatters.org, the American diet has changed dramatically over the last twenty years when it comes to the quantity and the quality of food. The average intake of calories that people took in during the 1970s was 2,160 per day. In 2016, the intake of calories has shown to have shot up to 2,673 calories per person. 

In an article by U.S News and World Report, a writer Charlotte Markey talked about the cultural shock she had when she traveled to Europe. And how surprised she was to find that European food and portion sizes were vastly different as opposed to the U.S portion sizes. Markey explained how a lot of baked goods, like a croissant for example, were at least half the size of what she had been used to in America. 

Even in Japan, food portions are a lot smaller as well. However, theinsider.com states that in Japan, a small bowl of rice is usually their main dish with fish or a plant-based protein like beans or tofu, soup and other vegetable type sides. 

In a video that theinsider.com discussed that focused primarily on portion or serving sizes and the intake of calories a Japanese person takes in versus an American. The narrator discloses that Japanese people average 1,000 calories less than Americans on a daily basis. According to the video, almost all Americans eat out at least once a week compared to only 16 percent of Japanese people eating out. 

Due to America’s huge portion sizes and the quality of food, this has not only caused obesity but health problems as well. People with obesity in comparison to those with a normal or healthy weight are at a higher risk for many serious diseases and health conditions too. 

These health issues can cause a litany of problems, such as High blood pressure, High LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, Coronary heart disease, stroke, Gallbladder disease, some forms of cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder and liver) and even a low quality of life. 

According to Bannerhealth.com when it comes to the ‘ideal’ or healthy weight for men and women it isn’t about who is thin, has muscle or toned figure like Hollywood stars that makes an individual healthy. It depends on that person, whether they are male or female and how tall they are. 

For example, a man that is 5’10 should weigh somewhere between 149-183Ibs versus a man that is 5’9 or 6’0. Whereas a woman who is 5’5 around 113-138 Ibs as opposed to a woman who is 5’7 or 5’9. Weight varies with gender and height, but age is also an important factor to remember as well.  

With portion sizes and healthy eating comes with balancing out our diets along with good amount of exercise. Your health is important, always remember that it isn’t a bad thing to take care of yourself.   

Categories: Features

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1 reply


  1. Why Eat Healthy if I’m Fit? – Ella’s blog

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