Kitchen Think: Fighting Fat with Photos


A picture is worth a thousand words… or hopefully, a thousand fewer calories.

NYC Health Department Ad Campaign

New York City’s Health Department has started a graphic advertising campaign to shock people into seeing that super-size portions come with super-size consequences. The subway ads blame the food industry for making people fat with ginormous portions, sugar sweetened carbonated drinks and fatty foods.

Did you know that in the past few decades:

• Lunch time calorie consumption has jumped from 500 calories to more than 1,000 (most adults only need 2,000 calories per day).

• Bagels have gotten bigger. Plain bagels used to be 3 inches in diameter and have about 145 calories. Now they 5 to 6 inches in diameter (or bigger!) and have 350 calories.

• The serving size of a fast-food beverage has quadrupled, jumping from seven ounces in 1955 to 32 ounces today.

• When the chain first opened, a McDonald’s hamburger patty weighed 1.6 oz. Now, the largest burger patty weighs 8 oz.

• French fry portions have more than doubled, from 2 oz. to 5.4 oz.

• An 8 oz. cup of coffee with milk and sugar is about 45 calories. But many of us love goosed-up coffee drinks. A Venti (20 oz.) café mocha with whip cream and 2% milk is 410 calories!

• The standard dinner plate has jumped in size from 10-inches to 12-inches.

NYC Health Department Ad Campaign

You just know that this campaign has the folks responsible for sugary drinks and grande portions hopping mad. It should. For years we watched as boxes of everything from sugar-sweetened cereal to frozen fried chicken increased in size from “large” to “family size” to “jumbo.”

Now, many food-makers are trying to make it right by offering “100-calorie” size and “snack-size.” They are even trying to assuage their consciences by putting the calorie count for a serving- size on the front of the package. But breaking the habit of eating double-and triple-the-serving-size is awfully hard to do at home, especially when you’re used to eating oversized portions when dining out. And speaking of dining out, while some restaurants do offer low-calorie menu items, most diners continue to order the full-fat, carb-heavy, plate-filling items.

Why? Because that’s what they’re used to enjoying.

After the government launched it’s anti-smoking crusade in the mid-1960s, it took more than 20 years before we began to see a drop in the number of smokers. A whole generation had to be educated about the perils of lighting up before the statistics fell. We already know that there are now more obese and overweight children than any previous generation. Will we have to wait 20 years before we see any significant change?

Do we have a choice?

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  1. Pingback: Mama's High Strung™ » Blog Archive » Kitchen Think: Stop The Weight Bullying!

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: