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Food Portion Distortion FAQs

Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

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Q:A bagel 20 years ago was 3 inches in diameter and had 140 calories. How many calories do you think are in today's bagel?

A:350 calories. There are 350 calories in a 6-inch bagel. If you rake leaves for 50 minutes, you’ll burn the extra 210 calories.*
*Based on a 130-pound person.

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Q:A cheeseburger 20 years ago had 333 calories. How many calories do you think are in today's cheeseburger?

A:Today's cheeseburger packs a whopping 590 calories! You’ll need to lift weights for 1 hour and 30 minutes, to burn the extra approximately 257 calories.*
* Based on a 130-pound person.

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Q:A 6.5-ounce portion of soda had 85 calories 20 years ago. How many calories do you think are in today's portion?

A:250 calories. 250 calories are in today's huge 20-ounce soda. If you work in the garden for 35 minutes you will burn the extra 165 calories.*
* Based on a 160-pound person.

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Q:2.4 ounces of French fries of 20 years ago had 210 calories. How many calories do you think are in today's portion?

A:610 calories.There are 610 calories in today's larger 6.9-ounce portion of French fries. If you walk leisurely for 1 hour and 10 minutes, you will burn the extra 400 calories.*
* Based on a 160-pound person.

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Q:A portion of spaghetti and meatballs 20 years ago had 500 calories. How many calories are in today's portion?

A:1,025 calories! 1,025 calories for a portion consisting of 2 cups of pasta with sauce and 3 large meatballs. If you clean house for 2 hours and 35 minutes, you will burn approximately 525 calories.*
* Based on a 130-pound person.

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Q:Coffee with milk and sugar 20 years ago was 8 ounces and 45 calories. How many calories are in today's mocha coffee?

A:350 calories. 350 calories are in a 16-ounce cup of today's coffee. If you walk approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, you will burn the extra 305 calories.*
* Based on a 130-pound person.

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Q:A muffin 20 years ago was 1.5 ounces and had 210 calories. How many calories do you think are in a muffin today?

A:500 calories.Today's muffin packs 500 calories for a 5-ounce muffin. If you vacuum for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes you will burn the extra 310 calories*
* Based on a 130-pound person.

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Q:Two slices of pepperoni pizza 20 years ago had 500 calories. How many calories do you think are in today's large pizzas?

A:850 calories.You can count on 850 calories for 2 large slices of pizza. If you play golf (while walking and carrying your clubs) for 1 hour, you will burn the extra 350 calories.*
* Based on a 160-pound person.

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Q:A chicken Caesar salad had 390 calories 20 years ago. How many calories are in today's chicken Caesar salad?

A:790 calories. 790 calories can be found in a 3-cup portion of Caesar salad today. If you walk the dog for 1 hour and 20 minutes, you will burn the extra 400 calories.*
* Based on a 160-pound person.

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Q:A box of popcorn had 270 calories 20 years ago. How many calories do you think are in today's tub of popcorn?

A:630 calories. There are 630 calories in a tub of popcorn today. If you do water aerobics for 1 hour and 15 minutes, you will burn the extra 360 calories.*
* Based on a 130-pound person.

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