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Old 02-19-2014, 06:18 AM   #1
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Anyone else annoyed by "per serving"?

Maybe just a cultural clash but this type of nutrition info really bugs me. Fortunately most products here show grams out of 100 grams (which is the same as a percentage) so it's very easy to calculate how much you are getting. American products and a lot of the recipes I find online use the "per serving" and of course the serving size is so little most people will eat much more than that. It kinda comes off as complicating it for people so they won't be as aware of how much of the bad stuff they are getting.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:45 AM   #2
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Well, you just have to read labels carefully and understand that a serving size is not necessarily what they say it is. American labels do list ounces and grams. People just don't bother to pay attention. I didn't used to notice all the discrepancies between serving size and actual weighed portion size until I switched to a digital scale.

Since I've been doing this for five years I have hundreds of custom foods entered in my online tracker, and when I copy the information off a label, I make sure to list the teaspoons, tablespoons, grams or ounces. Mostly, though, I just don't eat a lot of pre-packaged foods and I don't use online recipes. It's easier to weigh your piece of meat, chicken or fish and your raw vegetables before cooking them and I think it's more accurate that way.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:59 AM   #3
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The vast majority of Americans have no concept of "100 grams" so per serving is much more useful for us. There has been a push in recent years to use more realistic serving sizes in the U.S., so a "snack" item (such as a small bag of nuts) would be listed as "1 serving" whereas in past years it could have been 2 or 2.5 servings. That isn't always the case, however. I just count actual grams, anyway, so it doesn't bother me at all.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:13 AM   #4
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Yeah, once you know that 28 grams is an ounce, it really is not hard. But I did notice that small packages like nuts are calling themselves single servings now, even though that makes a single serving bigger than they used to say. It's more practical.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:13 AM   #5
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The useful thing about per 100g is that it also means percentage - a product containing 3g per 100g is 3% carb, one containing 50g per 100g is 50%, etc. It also makes it very easy to work out what you're consuming if you have half, quarter, double the amount - whereas serving sizes can be trickier.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Amber_Baby View Post
The useful thing about per 100g is that it also means percentage - a product containing 3g per 100g is 3% carb, one containing 50g per 100g is 50%, etc. It also makes it very easy to work out what you're consuming if you have half, quarter, double the amount - whereas serving sizes can be trickier.
I don't disagree with you, but again Americans have no concept of this. OTOH, I personally don't care about percentage of dry matter, anyway, I care about percentages of calories from each, or even better, actual grams I am consuming, which is not the same.

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Old 02-19-2014, 08:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Amber_Baby View Post
The useful thing about per 100g is that it also means percentage - a product containing 3g per 100g is 3% carb, one containing 50g per 100g is 50%, etc. It also makes it very easy to work out what you're consuming if you have half, quarter, double the amount - whereas serving sizes can be trickier.
Yeah thanx for explaining better what I was thinking

It's no big deal but I just find it strange that they don't make it as easy as possible for the customer to figure it out.

Americans don't understand grams that's fine but you can just use percentage instead.

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Old 02-19-2014, 11:32 AM   #8
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I with ya on this one. Very deceitful in my opinion. Like anyone eats A serving of cereal, or chips or anything really. And I do think it's deliberate. If they make the serving size small enough it 'looks' better. And gee, as 'part' of a 'balanced' diet that's not bad, right? Ha! What a joke!!
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:24 PM   #9
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They are not responsible for our choices, though. It is entirely possible to weigh out a portion of something and only eat that portion. If they made a lot of snack foods smaller, people would probably complain about the bags or packages being too small.

I mean if you think about it, even with homemade recipes like a lot of the ones people think are OK for Induction, how many times do people say "I made this recipe and ate six servings of it because I liked it so much!" That's not the fault of the recipe. Maybe people who post recipes should be more realistic and say it's two servings instead of six, but in the end that's not what makes people eat more of it.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:40 PM   #10
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the per serving size 'numbers' are way more impressive to read on a label, vs. the real amt one would consume.

per serving, service size is 1/2 cup cereal---sure those calories, carbs, sugar etc. sound reasonable when checked on a label.

when someone pours 2-3 cups of cereal into a bowl and chow down, now add up those numbers. they are frightening

per serving and serving size is kept low to make the food 'seem' healthier on that label. deceiving definitely to me
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:06 PM   #11
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I think it's pretty simple on most labels. They tell you the measurement of the serving size whether cup / number/ volume / portion of bag then tell you nutritional information based on that amount. Serving size configurations are based on considering a person eating 2000-2500 calories and certain amount of grams from a variety of foods per day.

While the serving sizes are definately off for me because I eliminate so many foods, serving size is a good way to figure out the nutrients I am getting based on the food I am eating.
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Old 02-20-2014, 03:01 PM   #12
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No, none of that bothers me at all. I pretty much laugh in the face of all the official nutritional info and suggestions anyway.

I also eat very few processed foods.

Last edited by DiamondDeb; 02-20-2014 at 03:03 PM..
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Old 02-20-2014, 03:55 PM   #13
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I think it's pretty simple on most labels. They tell you the measurement of the serving size whether cup / number/ volume / portion of bag then tell you nutritional information based on that amount.
I know, I think it's pretty simple too. Getting mad about it is kind of like getting mad at the bank because you overdrew your checking account. We all make mistakes sometimes and have our ditzy moments, but we're capable of keeping up on a bank balance or paying bills on time; we're also capable of being aware of the food we eat. It just takes a little effort.
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Old 02-20-2014, 03:57 PM   #14
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I agree that it is intentionally misleading. Especially when the cover says "Only 75 calories per serving" (they don't usually advertise carbs) and then a serving is tiny. I like the 100 grams idea...but even more....I love the idea that they can do servings, which can be useful, especially if is something easily broken down (e,g. per sausage, per 4 slices) but next to that, they have to list it for the whole package.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:22 PM   #15
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I prefer per serving, I just wish that the serving size was more normal/natural instead of one small package that can fit in the palm of your hand being labeled as 2.5 servings. They should just put the number of calories and carbs per package, it's much easier to divide the calorie count in half if you decide to eat only half, but much sneakier to make you have to multiply by 5 in your head while trying to decide if you want to buy it because they label it as 5 servings when it's the size only one person will eat. Why are some things labelled as 2 servings actually the amount that would not fill up a baby? I don't get that. Why is a 3 ounce size of a drink labelled as 2 servings? That's what gets me, I used to get fooled by that when I first started out watching what I ate, I assumed if it was small it must be one serving and was calculating what I was eating all wrong. It makes me feel like they complicate to make it more difficult on those who ARE trying to watch what they eat. They put a low amount of calories in big print on the label and say per serving then you have to read the fine print which says there's like 5 servings in something that clearly one person will eat. So someone thinks they are eating 100 calories when they are really eating 500 calories. I've learned how to look for the amount of servings in the package FIRST before even looking at the calorie count but some just starting out don't know to do that.
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:24 PM   #16
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I agree that it is intentionally misleading. Especially when the cover says "Only 75 calories per serving" (they don't usually advertise carbs) and then a serving is tiny.
Exactly then when you read further you see that the small package has like 6 servings in it. That makes the whole thing useless. A little White Castle size sandwich is labelled as 3 servings like 3 people will really eat a small sausage size White Castle type sandwich. That's like labelling a chicken wing as 3 servings like 3 people will really share a chicken wing. LOL!

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Old 02-20-2014, 04:56 PM   #17
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Exactly then when you read further you see that the small package has like 6 servings in it. That makes the whole thing useless. A little White Castle size sandwich is labelled as 3 servings like 3 people will really eat a small sausage size White Castle type sandwich. That's like labelling a chicken wing as 3 servings like 3 people will really share a chicken wing. LOL!
Hahaha! "I like to have one chip for lunch, one for dinner, and if I am being really indulgent....I have half a chip for a snack!"
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:07 PM   #18
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Nobody else uses the recommended serving sizes as an opportunity to re-train your eyes to see what a reasonable portion ought to be?

Maybe this is something low-carb has caused me to get more comfortable with, because an ounce of cheese or nuts is small, but it's an ounce. It's a serving. I'm used to what that looks like.
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:42 PM   #19
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Nobody else uses the recommended serving sizes as an opportunity to re-train your eyes to see what a reasonable portion ought to be?

Maybe this is something low-carb has caused me to get more comfortable with, because an ounce of cheese or nuts is small, but it's an ounce. It's a serving. I'm used to what that looks like.

Not going by the serving sizes as listed on products does not mean one is overeating.

I am interested in getting the amount I need to meet my nutritional requirements.

I'm not at all concerned with meeting a serving of anything based on the SAD. What I need may be more or less than one serving of whatever depending on the day or meal.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:06 AM   #20
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I think a lot of you are misunderstanding me.

I never go by servings and it's not about overeating and being pissed about it afterwards. It's just more convenient to have the percentage of an ingredient so you know right away if it's low-carb or not. It doesn't make me mad and it's not a huge deal but it would be ore convening not having to convert and calculate in the store and rather see it instantly.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:30 AM   #21
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I always count total carb grams. When you count total grams it's hard to try to figure how many grams you're eating and figure a percentage. Especially if you're on the run. Much easier to say I ate a package which has 2 carb grams.

I had an argument once with someone who told me that broccoli and lettuce were high-carb foods. His theory was that the calories in broc were about 70% carb so that made it a high carb food and I wasn't a lowcarb eater after all. He didn't take into consideration that broccoli is about 90% water from the get-go and lettuce is even more so yeah - it's low carb and high water. (and I know that's not what you're saying - it's just my lame example of one of the ways people use numbers to figure macronutrient composition that isn't useful - for me anyways).
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:01 AM   #22
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Kimberly, yeah, when you get into percentages like you described, it becomes a game of "percentages of what?" Grams are pretty straightforward and easier to deal with.
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:16 AM   #23
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Nobody else uses the recommended serving sizes as an opportunity to re-train your eyes to see what a reasonable portion ought to be?

Maybe this is something low-carb has caused me to get more comfortable with, because an ounce of cheese or nuts is small, but it's an ounce. It's a serving. I'm used to what that looks like.
I do. Ever since I vacationed in Europe a few years ago, I've been conscious of how much larger our portions are here. I've paid close attention to serving sizes ever since. Being low-carb has caused me to be more vigilant.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:09 AM   #24
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Not going by the serving sizes as listed on products does not mean one is overeating.

I am interested in getting the amount I need to meet my nutritional requirements.


I'm not at all concerned with meeting a serving of anything based on the SAD. What I need may be more or less than one serving of whatever depending on the day or meal.


My problem with serving size is when the serving size is so unreasonably small as to skew the actual numbers because they are allowed to round up and down as they please. I know they adjust "serving size" to make their calorie or fat number look better on the box. And if a serving size is less than a full gram, say 0.9, they can say it's 0.5, and if it's 0.4 they can say it's zero. That's bull cause if you eat multiple servings, then you have false numbers.

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I think a lot of you are misunderstanding me.

I never go by servings and it's not about overeating and being pissed about it afterwards. It's just more convenient to have the percentage of an ingredient so you know right away if it's low-carb or not. It doesn't make me mad and it's not a huge deal but it would be ore convening not having to convert and calculate in the store and rather see it instantly.
I hear you. knowing the amount per 100g would be great. and Yes, I'm in the U.S. But I was able to learn it. I don't think we have to remain ignorant just for convenience. I like having standard and metric on the package.

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Nobody else uses the recommended serving sizes as an opportunity to re-train your eyes to see what a reasonable portion ought to be?

Maybe this is something low-carb has caused me to get more comfortable with, because an ounce of cheese or nuts is small, but it's an ounce. It's a serving. I'm used to what that looks like.
The serving size is not necessarily a "reasonable portion" depending upon your dietary goals and wants. One ounce is a convenient measure, one cup is a convenient measure, but there are things that I'd eat more than one ounce or less than a cup, that doesn't mean my serving is wrong. A man will eat more than a women, that doesn't make him a glut cause he eats more multiples of the conveniently measured serving size. I eat a lot more than 2T of salsa, that doesn't mean I'm overeating. If I add fat to my meal to increase my percentage, I'm eating many more serving sizes of that fat than a SAD person is, but that's my plan, and they're plan is fat free. The serving size is just to give you a basis on which to understand the amount of the macros and nutrients, it shouldn't be a binding rope that keeps people from eating what they want.

A serving size of bacon is 2 slices. That might be fine if I'm also eating eggs and a pancake with syrup and OJ. but if my breakfast is sans pancake, OJ and syrup, and I might eat more bacon and egg instead to fill out my meal. So now I've eaten 1.75 servings of bacon. and 2 servings of one egg each. What is wrong with that. So long as my bacon label shows the amount of salt and fat and protein correctly, I know what I've eaten and there is no hidden agenda.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:15 AM   #25
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The serving size is not necessarily a "reasonable portion" depending upon your dietary goals and wants. One ounce is a convenient measure, one cup is a convenient measure, but there are things that I'd eat more than one ounce or less than a cup, that doesn't mean my serving is wrong. A man will eat more than a women, that doesn't make him a glut cause he eats more multiples of the conveniently measured serving size. I eat a lot more than 2T of salsa, that doesn't mean I'm overeating. If I add fat to my meal to increase my percentage, I'm eating many more serving sizes of that fat than a SAD person is, but that's my plan, and they're plan is fat free. The serving size is just to give you a basis on which to understand the amount of the macros and nutrients, it shouldn't be a binding rope that keeps people from eating what they want.

A serving size of bacon is 2 slices. That might be fine if I'm also eating eggs and a pancake with syrup and OJ. but if my breakfast is sans pancake, OJ and syrup, and I might eat more bacon and egg instead to fill out my meal. So now I've eaten 1.75 servings of bacon. and 2 servings of one egg each. What is wrong with that. So long as my bacon label shows the amount of salt and fat and protein correctly, I know what I've eaten and there is no hidden agenda.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:17 AM   #26
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The serving size is just to give you a basis on which to understand the amount of the macros and nutrients, it shouldn't be a binding rope that keeps people from eating what they want.
Yes, maybe that is a better way to say what I was trying to say.

I just think it's helpful to know what you are eating; whether it's one serving or three servings as described on the label, then fine, you have the information. I didn't say it was meant to be the be-all end-all of "everyone must only have one serving!", I just find it useful to look at actual portion sizes. For example, dry pasta. I don't eat pasta, but if I make whole wheat pasta for my partner, I weigh it just to see what is considered a normal amount for someone's dinner. It ends up being about 2 1/2 "servings". That is a lot of carbs. He's not low-carb, so that's not the point. For me it is interesting to think about how many carbs, calories, etc are in "normal" portions of typical foods.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:36 AM   #27
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It is also important to pay attention to serving size with vitamins and minerals.
I bought some calcium tabs with a daily serving size being 6 tablets.
I knew this before purchasing, as I really try to check on this sort of thing, but I still think it is misleading to say 120 tablets on the front of the package, but you really get only 20 days worth. And of course the print of the back is very very small, which doesn't help. I need my strongest reading glasses and a calculator with me at all times!
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:37 AM   #28
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I don't think anyone is saying it's the label's fault or the manufacturer's fault if someone makes a choice to overeat?!

There is no need for everyone to agree, it's just sharing opinions surely?

I definitely agree that eating more than a suggested serving size does not necessarily equate to overeating. One of the most misleading serving sizes I've ever seen is 28g of Alpen (a brand of muesli) - this is actually about two tablespoons worth!!
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:32 AM   #29
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I bought some calcium tabs with a daily serving size being 6 tablets.
I knew this before purchasing, as I really try to check on this sort of thing, but I still think it is misleading to say 120 tablets on the front of the package, but you really get only 20 days worth.
I did this too. I switched to a different type of multivitamin and didn't read the label closely, and realized, later, that I was supposed to take 4 of them when I was used to taking 1 of my other kind. I could have kicked myself.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:41 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Geiri View Post
I think a lot of you are misunderstanding me.

I never go by servings and it's not about overeating and being pissed about it afterwards. It's just more convenient to have the percentage of an ingredient so you know right away if it's low-carb or not. It doesn't make me mad and it's not a huge deal but it would be ore convening not having to convert and calculate in the store and rather see it instantly
I totally get it and agree. And I totally think it's a game that food manufacturers play here and aided by the food pyramid to dumb it down for us so we don't have to do our own thinking.
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