That’s a Serving Size?!

According to The New York Times, the F.D.A. is addressing an issue that the serving sizes provided on packaged foods are NOT realistic. Many people don’t realize that the “serving size” on the nutritional info panel is usually MUCH smaller than what they serve themselves. Example: Many of the soups on the market today are billed as “Heart Healthy” and claim to have a reasonable amount of salt per serving. But a shopper has to examine the label closely to understand that a serving is only 1/2 the can! A full can may contain close to half the daily salt allowance recommended. Or let’s consider the humble chip: most potato or corn chip bags today show a one-ounce serving size, containing a tolerable 150 calories, or so. But for some brands, like Tostitos Hint of Lime, one ounce can be just six chips. How many people usually stop at 6 chips? But FDA officials are noting one potential problem: Would larger serving sizes on labels encourage people to eat more? That’s definitely a valid point, but  if most people are eating that much anyway, wouldn’t it be beneficial for them to see the real nutritionals?

What do you think?


25 Responses

  1. I’d rather see the real deal – I think it’s more valuable. It’s ridiculous to see a bottle of juice with 2 servings. Most folks drink the whole thing and expect that the bottle is the serving size. Even if they are in the habit of ingredient reading and nutritional breakdown, I think it’s easy to miss the serving size. (Its usually the last thing I look at – after the ingredient list and then sugar/carbs/fiber.) I shared a bottle of juice cocktail with my kiddo this afternoon – a rare thing – and was surprised at the amount sugar per serving (and surprise surprise, there were 2 servings in the bottle.) Would anyone really consume a drink that had 60 grams of sugar in it on a regular basis if you knew it? Btw, since your Starbucks expose, I have given up on the Espresso Truffles except on rare occasions. Hate to know the info, but glad to know the info!

  2. This is one thing that I think is the consumer’s responsibility to judge most. It’s part of why I own a food scale for what I eat. Obviously, one answer is to just buy single serve packets. But that’s so ridiculous in terms of the extra price youre packing, when all you have to do is use your mind, determine how much you want/are hungry for, and use reason

  3. I feel like by now we should all be aware of the fact that there are multiple servings per can/bag/box/etc. Articles like that help get the word out and educate those of us who chose not to look at packages and labels.

  4. I don’t know what the answer is, BUT, this does bring up something that REALLY annoys me… when there’s a little bitty muffin or cookie and it’s supposed to be 2, sometimes 4 servings?!!!!! Who eats 1/4 of a muffin or cookie?? Maybe I’m just a piggy, but definitely not me!! 😉

    • I am with you Em…that drives me crazy too! I mean really who eats 1/4 of a muffin? Or my husband was looking at his bag of GF chips and was like WHAT? 4 servings? He was like no way!

  5. I mean I don’t think that 6 chips is a serving for anyone! The same goes for cereal servings, those are usually WAY too small. But at the same time, for some things (cookies and ice cream) we probably shouldn’t encourage people to eat more…

  6. I wish everything came in single portion sized bags. That would make life so much easier. Of course, those are always 2x as expensive so we get the bulks and then some people end up struggling with portion sizes. Sigh…those food industry moguls…

    You’re right though, how unrealistic is 6 chips? That’s why I stick to chips that give me more for the calories. Think: Newman Soy Crisps. They are so good Kelly. You really need to try them!

  7. Eh, I could care less about what companies list as their serving sizes. I always eat more than a serving size anyway.

  8. I’m kind of “hands off” on stuff, so I won’t get into a regulatory debate. Personally, I just make it a point to know what serving sizes are.

    Hope you had a fantastic BodyPump!

  9. oh serving sizes, i never listen to you. I am especially angry with girl scout cookies the last few years…the cookies keep getting smaller, but the serving size (and calorie counts) remain the same. le sigh.

    I still just eat 8 samoas at a time.

  10. I think the nutrition labels should stay the same with serving sizes…

    Maybe you really should only eat 6 chips :/

    Ya know? Or maybe you should just have half the can of soup with your sandwich instead of the whole can…

    I have a food scale at home so I normally measure everything and am really careful on reading the labels correctly.

  11. If time permits (and I remember), I measure everything on my food scale. I believe if you are taking the time to read the nutrition labels, you have the time to be conscious about what you are putting into your body.

    However a Ben and Jerry’s Pint will always be one—and not four servings to me. That’s why I only indulge in that once a year and why I cannot keep bad food in my house unless it is pre-portioned.

  12. ya i read this article too…i think it would be benefitical to put more accurate serving sizes on the packages. i doubt people would eat more just cause the serving size was bigger- i mean, they ignore serving sizes now so why would they pay attention if they were increased? all they would (maybe…ideally) pay attention to was the bigger caloric numbers, which is the whole point.

    p.s. did you watch the video along with the article? the guy narrating was so goofy hah

    • Yeah…the video was definitely a little hokey! haha! 🙂 I agree with you too…that I think maybe if people saw the calorie/fat content of the serving size they were actually eating it might make a difference in how much they chose to eat!

  13. Joey just told me about this yesterday! My question is, if no one pays attention anyways (which most don’t, or they disregard the info… eating 6 chips!) then what will it matter if they are even changed to be more normal?

    It’s quite an interesting topic to me!

  14. I think they’re sometimes unrealistic but that it’s they’re right there on the package for the consumer to see. I’m always surprised that people don’t look at the serving size, actually, regardless of whether or not they pay attention to it!

  15. For the most part, I think that a serving size on a package should be the entire package (except, obviously on ginormous amounts). Really though, that is the amount that most people eat. I would guess that eating a bag of chips in one sitting is far more common than eating 6! But then again, the people who eat a full bag of chips are not the ones reading the labels anyway. Argh. I get so frustrated and talk myself in circles about this stuff.

  16. wow, very interesting!! i think that the serving sizes are unrealistic, but at the same time technically it is what counts as a serving.. if our bodies need more than a serving, we should eat more but id ont necessarily think they should change the labels


  17. Hmmm . . . I think I’m going to go with put the full serving size. I at least know enough to look at # of servings on bags of chips, etc. But perhaps if people see that the whole thing is 1,000 calories, they’d be less likely to eat it.

  18. I think it would make it easier on consumers if the package was a serving size, but it would probably end up being very expensive when shopping for your entire family. Personal responsibility has to come in somewhere. Reading a label really isn’t that hard, if you care about your health, you’re going to have to do it. If the FDA can put efforts into educating consumers about reading labels, that would be even better.

  19. I think it’s really unnecessary to change the labels. I would rather not sit there and try to figure out a smaller serving. I think if people need to eat more then that it’s fine, some people don’t need to. If they go about changing it I think they’ll be a bigger problem with obesity. One of the girls was from my college sorority was bigger, and would look for packages with higher servings so she wouldn’t feel judged when she ate the whole thing. (if that makes sense) I think things work now, and don’t need to be changed.

  20. Hey!! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! 🙂 I always find myself catching up on blogs for wayyyy to long haha! I love finding new ones! I’m actually in a nutrition class this semester, and I absolutely love it. Serving sizes are such a joke, mostly b/c they don’t correspond with a lot of the recommendations by the FDA like the MyPyramid, etc….and all of the numbers, percentages, big words are just confusing and overwhelming to consumers! :O AND my personal pet peeve is stuff like soup- haha I am not going to pour out half the can and save the other half for later, come on!

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