Hefty Portions Hurt Waists and Wallets

As food sizes increase, so do prices.

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As I found myself purchasing a monstrous 24-ounce smoothie yesterday, I had to wonder: When did 24 ounces become a "normal"-size drink? I could have ordered a 12-ounce smoothie, but that was called the "junior" size, which sounded like it was for kids.

Maybe because I write about money all day, my first thought wasn't the extra calories but the extra dollars. The 24-ounce drink—euphemistically called "regular"—cost $4.85, compared with the $3.95 "junior" size. Of course, I bought the more expensive one because, well, everyone else was doing it and it seemed "normal."

So far, much of the public discussion on portion size has focused on the health factor. A report last year from the Center for Science in the Public Interest calculated that many restaurant dishes are so large they exceed 1,000 calories. But with food prices rising, those hefty portions mean that bank accounts are suffering, too.