“I eat Fig Newtons by the sleeve. Two sleeves is a serving size.”
– Brian Regan
Are american portions too big?
In Iowa bigger is better. A restaurant can draw a crowd as long as it offers massive portions. The food doesn’t even have to be good. Unlimited hot wings. Endless pancakes. Infinite spaghetti. As much mediocre food as you can handle.
Even places serving finite quantities give you way too much. As an adult I don’t think that I’ve ever been able to finish a full meal.
Almost every bar and restaurant is home to the world’s largest hamburger or pizza. For a couple bucks you can end up with a 72 ounce meal. That’s more than I can handle.
How much do other countries eat?
In my past travels, when I’ve gone to Central America and the Caribbean, serving sizes were about the same as they were back home. I remember eating a one pound burger and mountain of fried rice in Belize, and Nicaragua has some pretty hearty meals as well.
Peru has been a different story.
While the food is outstanding, portions are pretty small. They were prepared for 5′ 4″ Peruvians, not a 6′ tall American ectomorph. When I ate out all the time I actually lost weight. It’s the opposite of what would have happened in the States.
This isn’t a bad thing for most people, but it was tough for me to eat enough. I’d end up getting breakfast and then sneaking across the street so that I could order another dish. Or I’d stop by a food kiosk and load up on banana chips.
Eating at restaurants made me skinny
Going to restaurants was causing me to lose weight. And fast too. I lost a lot of muscle mass within my first month.
On top of this I was always hungry. This lead to all kinds of problems that I would never have envisioned. At night I had trouble sleeping, my lifts went down in the gym, and it was hard for me to focus on any one task for very long.
Even though I was eating healthy dishes, like chicken and rice, I wasn’t getting a lot of good nutrition. The portions were too small and my diet wasn’t as balanced as it was back in Iowa. There was no vegetable juice, zinc, or other supplements. Just what I was getting at restaurants. It was damaging my health.
Eventually I stopped eating out as much and started cooking for myself. Doing so allowed me to get all the protein and nutrition that I needed. It also helped to end my poor gym performance and stopped my muscle loss.
For a long time I thought that gargantuan American portions were the only thing causing health problems. Giant burgers and greasy fast-food. However, I seem to have been mistaken.
A lot of people make the assumption that foreign restaurants as being healthier. While these places might not serve a gallon of soda and one pound basket of onion rings, they do have their own issues.
Eating out for every meal is going to take a toll on your health. Even if you’re going to fancy restaurants or places that serve healthy dishes.
If you want to protect your body you need to cook your own meals and take responsibility for your nutrition. Don’t forfeit your well-being to some anonymous chef.