You’ve probably seen the new Stanford research: Customers at Starbucks that listed calorie content of each food ordered 6% fewer calories per visit; calories per transaction fell by 26% in customers whose orders averaged more than 250 calories. It’s reassuring to know that if the information is staring us in the face, we make slightly better choices. Maybe America’s collective waistband will start to shrink.
Restaurants have been a part of the problem, skewing our idea of serving sizes, which are often two to four times larger than the government standards. If eating like that were confined to eating out, maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad. But, researchers say, serving sizes also ballooned at home (which is double trouble for those who work from home). When asked to bring in medium-sized potatoes, bagels, and cookies, students of one nutrition professor brought in foods that were at least twice the size of standard serving.
If you want a visual refresher on what really constitutes a serving size, the Mayo Clinic site does a nice job or use these comparisons to familiar objects. While you might end up right-sizing some foods, the Stanford research in Starbucks showed that coffee drinks are off limits. Listing the calories of those had little impact on buying behavior.