Assessment of typical food portion sizes consumed among Australian adults

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Journal Article
Nutrition and Dietetics, 2009, 66 (4), pp. 227 - 233
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Aim: To document the typical portion sizes of commonly consumed foods as reported by adults in the 1995 National Nutrition Survey, and to compare these data with existing information on serving sizes used in Australia. Methods: Portion sizes of foods were defined as total amounts of food consumed per eating occasion, using estimated food portion weight data from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey. Age- and sex-specific median (typical) and interquartile ranges were produced for the most commonly consumed foods for Australian adults. These were compared with other data on weighed food records, sample servings as used in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating and 'unspecified' serves as used in nutritional analysis software. Results: Typical portion sizes for many commonly consumed foods varied significantly by age and sex of the consumer, with larger portion sizes being consumed by men, and by younger adults. Portion size differences between sex were not consistent across food types; therefore, a fixed ratio cannot be applied to all food types. Typical portion sizes estimated from the National Nutrition Survey were similar to median portion sizes obtained from weighed food records for many foods but were not similar to the generic sample servings and 'unspecified' serves. Conclusions: The significant age and sex differences in portion sizes consumed indicate the need for age- and sex-specific portion sizes in dietary analysis. Portion size research has particular relevance to the current revision of the dietary guidelines, core food groups and the development of a new food guide in Australia. © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Dietitians Association of Australia.
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