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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Aug;15(8):2086-94.

Chefs' opinions of restaurant portion sizes.

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  • 1Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, A216 Poole Agricultural Center, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0371, USA.



The objectives were to determine who establishes restaurant portion sizes and factors that influence these decisions, and to examine chefs' opinions regarding portion size, nutrition information, and weight management.


A survey was distributed to chefs to obtain information about who is responsible for determining restaurant portion sizes, factors influencing restaurant portion sizes, what food portion sizes are being served in restaurants, and chefs' opinions regarding nutrition information, health, and body weight. The final sample consisted of 300 chefs attending various culinary meetings.


Executive chefs were identified as being primarily responsible for establishing portion sizes served in restaurants. Factors reported to have a strong influence on restaurant portion sizes included presentation of foods, food cost, and customer expectations. While 76% of chefs thought that they served "regular" portions, the actual portions of steak and pasta they reported serving were 2 to 4 times larger than serving sizes recommended by the U.S government. Chefs indicated that they believe that the amount of food served influences how much patrons consume and that large portions are a problem for weight control, but their opinions were mixed regarding whether it is the customer's responsibility to eat an appropriate amount when served a large portion of food.


Portion size is a key determinant of energy intake, and the results from this study suggest that cultural norms and economic value strongly influence the determination of restaurant portion sizes. Strategies are needed to encourage chefs to provide and promote portions that are appropriate for customers' energy requirements.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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