OBJECTIVE: Identify the portion sizes of the most consumed foods and preparations or those that contribute most to the total energy of the diet of adults and seniors. METHODS: A population-based household survey with a representative sample of 1 477 individuals older than 20 years living in the city of São Paulo was done in 2003. Food consumption was investigated with the 24-hour recall and input in the software Nutrition Data System. The foods and preparations whose portions were determined were consumed by at least 10% of the studied population or represented up to 80% of the total energy of the diet. The mean portions obtained by the 50th percentile were compared with the Kruskal Wallis test according to gender and nutritional status. RESULTS: Rice and beans were the most consumed foods and also contributed most to the total energy of the diet. Men consumed bigger portions of these foods than women. The size of milk portion was below that recommended by the Brazilian Food Guide but the biggest difference regarded the consumption of lettuce and tomato which was way below the recommended amounts. Overweight individuals consume larger portions of chicken breast. CONCLUSION: Men consume larger portions of some foods but in practice it is not possible to differentiate these slightly different amounts for most foods using cooking units. The portion sizes of the main foods of the vegetable and dairy groups are smaller than those recommended by the Food Guide.
Adult; Food habits; Aged; Diet surveys