Quiz: Can You Recognize a Normal Portion Size?

We're gonna guess no.

Sheherzad Preisler

Sheherzad Preisler

Image: Martin Poole/Getty

As new artery-clogging culinary tire fires like the Chizza, Mac N' Cheetos, and Japan's giant croquette burger orbit our fast-food universe, and even the portions of less, uh, innovative foods just keep getting bigger, we all risk inhaling more at every meal. Regardless of the fact that our bodies and minds don't benefit from portions this big, the ever-expanding serving size messes with our brains so we don't even notice we're consuming more than we used to.

According to the USDA, moderately active men between 21 and 30 should consume between 2,600 and 2,800 calories, while women within the same parameters should have between 2,000 and 2,200. These numbers are variable, of course, depending on how tall you are and just how active, but it's a starting point for gauging what's normal.

It's pretty shocking how different serving sizes and caloric contents of foods we eat every day are compared to those for the same foods just two decades ago. It's no doubt partly as a result of this phenomenon that obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the US. About 31 percent of men and 35 percent of women are obese. Annually, obesity-related illnesses cost more than $150 billion and cause around 300,000 premature deaths. Carrying too much weight can quickly lead to severe illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, as well as bone and joint disease.

Take this quiz, developed by the National Institutes of Health, to guess how serving sizes and caloric contents of 2017's every day foods compare to those of 20 years ago. You'll also learn—for better or worse—just how much work you need to put in to balance out all the extra calories we're consuming these days. (The single asterisk refers to cals burned by a 130-pound person; double ** refers to a 160-pound person.)