The ability of young adults to estimate portion size and calorie content

Jaime Schwartz, Debra Byrd-Bredbenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study describes the ability of young adults (N = 177, 75% female) aged 16-26 years to estimate the size and calories in typical portions of common foods. Participants served themselves typical portion sizes of 8 foods at breakfast (n = 63) or 6 foods at lunch or dinner (n = 114). Portion size selections were unobtrusively weighed and converted to volume measures. Calories in the portions were then calculated. Only 34% of volume and 22% of calorie estimates were within 25% of their actual amounts. Nearly half the volume estimates were more than 25% greater than actual amounts. Approximately one third of the calorie estimates were underestimated by 26% or more.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
JournalTopics in Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Calorie content
  • Diet recalls
  • Portion size
  • Young adults

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