FDA May Update Serving Sizes To Reflect How Much People Actually Eat

As anyone who has tried to carefully count calories knows, the serving sizes on food packages don’t have much to do with reality. The FDA has finally realized that putting accurate serving sizes on labels might have an effect on the amount of food Americans cram into our mouths in one sitting.

“If you put on a meaningful portion size, it would scare a lot of people,” said Barry Popkin, a nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina. “They would see, ‘I’m going to get 300 calories from that, or 500 calories.’ ”

The problem is important because the standard serving size shown on a package determines all the other nutritional values on the label, including calorie counts. If the serving size is smaller than what people really eat, unless they study the label carefully they may think they are getting fewer calories or other nutrients than they are.

Do you think that seeing realistic calorie counts on your favorite foods would help you with portion control? Food packaging works along with our tendency to underestimate how much we’ve eaten (or plan to eat.) Maybe a big sticker saying “If you eat half of this bag of potato chips, you will consume 1,200 calories” would work.

One Bowl = 2 Servings. F.D.A. May Fix That. [NY Times] (Thanks, Roger!)