Monday 23 October 2017

Gillian Orr: Supersized - why our portion sizes are ballooning

'People will rarely buy a second helping but they will take the option of a larger size'
'People will rarely buy a second helping but they will take the option of a larger size'

THE second episode of the new BBC2 series The Men Who Made Us Fat, which looks at how the concept of super-sizing changed our eating habits, begins with the investigative journalist Jacques Peretti going into a Great Yarmouth diner for breakfast. The affable owner offers him a choice: The Big Boy, The Fat Boy, or The Kid's Breakfast, so-called because "it weighs the same as a small child".

He goes for the latter, a nine-and-a-half pound meal which includes an eight-egg omelette, 12 rashers of bacon, 12 sausages, sautéed potatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, black pudding, four fried bread, four pieces of toast and four slices of bread and butter. It costs £15 and if a single person can eat it in an hour, they get their money back. Dwarfed by the dish, Peretti fails to make a dent.

It is a shocking scene but a valuable visual for asking the question: when did our portion sizes become so out of control? While such meals are not exactly the norm, even the idea of them was unthinkable 40 years ago. How did a nation of once moderate eaters (less than two per cent of adults were obese in the Seventies) develop an appetite for monster portions that has contributed to one in four adults today being classified as obese?

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