Feel free to download and use any of the graphics, illustrations, videos, and resources on the page for educational purposes and with credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Portion sizes and caloric density have increased dramatically in restaurants, fast-food chains, and grocery stores around the world. This study seeks to see how portion size and caloric density have changed in meals at home. In this study, we examine just how much our food preparation norms and serving sizes of cookbook recipes have changed in the last 70 years.
For this study we examined how 18 recipes out of the cookbook entitled The Joy of Cooking changed over time. This book was first published in 1936 and a new edition has been published every 10 years since. Changes in serving size and caloric density of 18 recipes present in each of these 7 editions were observed and documented using standard nutritional analysis techniques. All analyses of variance were performed using SPSS statistical software version 12.0. Any P values less than 0.05 were considered statistically significant.
In the content analysis of The Joy of Cooking, we found that total caloric content increased for 14 out of the 18 recipes. The average calories per recipe increased by 43.7% from 2123.8 calories to 3051.9 calories. Also, the mean average calories per serving increased in 17 out of the 18 recipes by 37.4% from 268.1 calories to 436.9 calories.
This overall increase of 35.2% in calories per serving is dually influenced by the use of higher calorie ingredients and an increase in serving size over the last 70 years. While the results of this study are largely descriptive in nature, they can be used as a basis for recommendations regarding weight maintenance in the home. In conclusion, the portion sizes and calorie content of new edition recipes can be decreased in order to combat growing waistlines in our society.
Wansink, Brian and Collin Payne (2009). The Joy of Cooking too much: 70 years of calorie increases in classic recipes. Annals of Internal Medicine, 150 (4), 291-292. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-150-4-200902170-00028