Supersized Portions Not Dead?

( [email protected] ) Mar 29, 2004 08:10 PM EST

According to a recent British poll, people are ordering larger and unhealthier portions of food in restaurants, adding to the obesity epidemic.

The survey polled 1,000 food industry workers for Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine, and discovered many chilling examples of extreme over-eating—such as a parent ordering a bacon-and-egg double-cheeseburger liquidized with gravy for their child or one customer eating lasagna meant to feed eight.

Restaurants blame parents

In the survey, 75% of respondents blamed parents for rising obesity rates. A quarter of workers cited the government, while 41% said food and drink suppliers are also responsible for the obesity problem. Only 7% of those asked blamed the catering industry. However, 80% agreed that food outlets should offer lowfat menu options, and 83% of those involved in menu development said they were aware of fat content as they created new dishes.

Should offer healthier options

The survey also highlighted some of the more severely unhealthy dishes ordered by customers, including:

• a 36oz T-bone steak;

• a full English breakfast (sausage, bacon, french fries, fried bread, black pudding) with six eggs;

• three bread rolls, two starters, two 8oz fillet steaks, with two bottles of wine and a plate of cheese—ordered by someone who weighed approximately 350lbs;

• four pork chops, baked potatoes, 12 eggs and garlic bread;

• a breakfast of french fries for a three-year-old child.

While most nutritionists agree that the obesity epidemic is not the fault of the restaurant and catering industry, they do suggest that menus offer more healthy options and to alert customers to nutritional information of each dish.