Super Sizing Alive and Well at Nation's Chain Restaurants

Nutrition Action Healthletter Illustrates How One ‘Serving’ Is Really More Like Two, Three, or Four


WASHINGTON—A typical burrito weighs about 5 ounces, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Yet a Chicken Burrito at Chipotle weighs four times as much, delivering 970 calories—including 300 calories from the white-flour tortilla alone. As Nutrition Action Healthletter illustrates in its September issue, Chipotle and other chain restaurants are reprogramming Americans’ expectations of what a “serving” of a food is.

Fortunately, calorie counts are soon coming to chain restaurant menu boards, thanks to the federal health care reform law now being implemented. And, from the article, here are 4 other examples of how far an actual serving exceeds the official serving size:

“Chain restaurants have helped dissolve any sense of perspective when it comes to what a reasonable serving of food is,” said Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, Nutrition Action’s publisher. “When 300-calorie bagels and 1,000-calorie burritos became the norm, it’s easy to understand why two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.”

Nutrition Action Healthletter is the largest-circulation health newsletter in North America, with 850,000 subscribers. Introductory subscriptions are $10 in the U.S. and $15 in Canada. 


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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at] or Ariana Stone (astone[at]