Originally Posted by ironchef
Yes, restaurants give larger portions, but that's to compete with the demand of customers. A restaurant is not holding a gun to your head telling you to finish all of your food in one sitting. Buffet restaurants don't have their own private militia going out and herding people in, telling them to stuff their face and make sure they eat their $19.95 worth of food. Everyone wants to point a finger. The problem is the PEOPLE. If someone wants to lose weight or change their eating habits/lifestyle, then do it. Are you a lemming or a person? If you have the ability to think for yourself, then you have the ability to make the change and not make any excuses if your goal is to lose weight.
I couldn't agree more.
Portion sizes are the biggest problem, but ultimately a portion OFFERED doesn't necessarily have to be the portion EATEN. The responsibility for what is ingested lies ultimately with he or she that is ingesting.
If Americans stop focusing so much on massive portion sizes, the portion sizes that are offered will begin to decrease.
Additionally, as mentioned above, what we put in our food and what kinds of food are in demand are also very important. All of this ultimately comes back to the preferences of the eater though, that is what drives it all.
I think that food as a percentage of what we spend in America is likely lower than it is in Europe and Japan. This may be due in part to the much higher rate of home ownership here and the size of our homes, and as a result you have more people stretching themselves to live in larger homes rather than just renting in apartments. This means that Americans, due to their own priorities, likely have a smaller percentage of their income left to spend on food and thus cost becomes a greater concern, hence the all-encompassing focus on the price-per-quantity ratio.
We live in a "dollar per pound" food society, we have turned food into a commodity, and this self-inflicted outlook is much to blame for how we eat and, thus, often, how we die.
I think that the "foodie" movement can often border on obnoxious and pretentious, however one of the best things to come out of it is a renewed focus on what is in our food and where it comes from.
Americans have allowed themselves to become more detached to their food than any society in history.
EDIT: I have become very focused in recent years on knowing precisely where my food comes from. With certain items this is impossible, but it's easy to exert control over others.
A buddy of mine, for instance, has parents that own a farm, primarily just as a vacation property. They do, however, raise 30 head of beef cattle on it, all grass-fed and drug-free, and this is where I obtain ALL the beef that is cooked in my home. Additionally, I try to buy as much locally-grown produce as possible and I am now friends with several farmers. I grow most of my own herbs.
I've also kept my promise with myself (made a couple years ago) that unless I wouldn't eat another Rockfish again unless I was on the boat that caught the fish (living near the Ches. Bay has it's benefits). This pact has resulted in both many enjoyable fishing trips and many delicious meals. Having had a hand in catching or growing your food gives you an appreciation for what you're eating, and you're much less likely to just shovel it into your face without a second thought.
Obviously, when I go to restaurants, I tend to forget about all this stuff and just enjoy it. I have other lapses too, such as my great affection for shoyu-fried spam, lol. No one's perfect :)