Serving Size: Do People Understand It?

by | Sep 26, 2011 | Health Habits, Nutrition Support, Uncategorized

Serving Size: How Realistic Is It?The other day I picked up a pint of a popular brand of ice cream and the serving size on the label stated that the package contained four servings. But quite frankly, I don’t remember when was the last time I measured out a serving size of ice cream and put back the rest of it into the refrigerator – do you? Let’s be honest here, most of us just eat the entire tub of four servings and at the end of that, if there was more we’d eat that too.

For most of us folks, the serving size for ice cream is one pint. The serving size information on a bag of chips says that 12 chips equal one serving. Can you imagine stopping at 12 chips? Or for that matter at 3 cookies because when it comes to cookies, the serving size is just 3 of them?

The data that government agencies work with is more often than not, outdated and refer to surveys taken in the 70’s when we ate less and portions had not been super sized

Today the average American is so used to eating super sized portions that if you put one portion as prescribed by the USDA on his plate,

he’d probably wonder whether it was meant for him or for the bird outside the window. In fact, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, pointed out severe drawbacks with the current system of calibration especially when it comes to serving size labels on popular packaged food items.

Recent research indicates that popular brands of ice cream, canned soups, nonstick cooking sprays and coffee creamers have been grossly understating the calories, sodium and saturated fat contained in the serving size.

Let’s take canned soup as an example.

The serving size for soup is one cup or roughly half a can. Now half a can of canned soup contains roughly 800 mg of salt. But in a survey conducted a couple of years ago, it was found that over 70% people polled said they eat the entire contents of one can. Therefore for them the portion size for soup was one can it would have contained 1600mg of salt which would be 70% the daily recommendation of salt from that one dish alone. No wonder people have blood pressure problems.

Yet another example out of dozens available would be cooking sprays.

You would be amazed if you read the nutritional information per serving size. For example canola cooking spray lists its serving size as “quarter of a second” and claims the single serving size has zero calories and zero fat! Wow. Was anyone able to spray for exactly quarter of a second? And what about such things as thumb pressure which regulates the quantum of flow during that duration?

So how much constitutes a serving size is not all clear and people continue to pay the price for it.

At least, see what’s the difference between a serving size and food portion size. And stay healthy! ;)