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Fittingly Mad: Are Serving Sizes Correct?

If you've been reading FitSugar, then you know by know that I am an avid serving size watcher. What do I mean by this? Well I always check the nutritional label on foods, and the first thing I look at is the serving size.

Recently, I've been noticing a discrepancy between what the label says and what I measure out myself. No, I am not that anal but when you're cooking you tend to notice these types of things. For example, last night I was measuring out canned chickpeas for a recipe I was making and the can said serving size one cup, but it also said that there were 3.5 servings per can. All I needed was one cup; however, I noticed that there was absolutely no way that there was 2.5 cups left in that can. I measured it out, and the remains hardly filled one cup! I was pretty blown away. I would have gone and measured everything in my pantry, but my husband felt that was taking it a bit too far.

Granted I know that chickpeas are no reason for great alarm since they are not high in calories or fat, but ever since my chickpea incident I've been thinking about how nutritional labels are so sneaky. This is just another reason for me to not trust the information I am getting (and relying on) from them. Keeping track of and watching what you put in your body is hard enough as it is, I don't need to now find out that I've been calculating all wrong because I am not getting the right info.

Oh, and don't even get me started on the fact that an item can have zero trans fats on the label when in reality it does have trans fats. Does anyone else agree that someone (or some organization) needs to take a good look at this nutritional labeling situation?


Join The Conversation
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Question for Fit - did you weigh out 8 ounces or did you use a measuring cup? If you used a measuring cup then you didn't actually get a cup you got whatever chickpeas fit in the cup instead of an actual 8 ounces or true one cup of beans. The manufacturer is assuming that if you truly want 1 cup/8 ounces that you'll use a scale to achieve that. Weird assumption but its allowed. Measuring cups are never accurate (pastry chefs do not use measuring cups - baking is a science that requires precision and measuring cups leave too much room for error) - first thing you learn in culinary classes. Again, the manufacturer is going by weight to achieve one cup/8 ounces. I believe there is a requirement by law that all packaging be correct and reflect the true measurement of a product by weight. I would bet that if you used a kitchen scale and tried that again reserving the liquid if the can indicates that they are counting the liquid as part of the serving, you would find that there are exactly 2.5 servings in a can. A lot can be forced into a measuring cup that shouldn't be there. Scales are a bit of a pain but they help eliminate errors.
nikodarling nikodarling 9 years
I don't like to eat any packaged food myself. I try to eat everything in moderation and fill up on fruits and veggies so I don't have to worry about portion sizes. But this definitely would be a major issue for anyone who struggles with their weight or is on a special diet. Whats the point in having this information on packaging if its not even correct.
matildaforfree matildaforfree 9 years
I hate that you really can't trust most of the foods in the grocery store. I'm becoming totally paranoid! Here we are talking about an obesity epidemic and yet they do nothing but help egg it on for profit!
Liz4aker Liz4aker 9 years
You are making me want to go measure everything in my pantry
ad2121 ad2121 9 years
Sure the serving size wasn't 1/2 cup fit? That's what it normally is for cans of beans.
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 9 years
i dont eat anything packaged so i dont have this problem!
pebby01 pebby01 9 years
that's ridiculous. i'm surprised that it's not regulated
georgie2 georgie2 9 years
That's why I always look at home much in a 100g between different products but similar products of different packaging size. Most of the times the serving sizes are wishful thinking.
Allytta Allytta 9 years
definetely there must be some control. and for me there's another problem - i've been reading all the davice for eating right, and you talk a lot about portions and cups, but i wasn't able to find how many gr is a cup that you talk about exactly.
brookrene brookrene 9 years
I totally agree Fit, that they need to put trans fats on the label even if it is less than .5 or whatever that number is. Very frustrating. As for the serving size issue, i better start taking a closer look myself, i always check serving sizes.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
/me goes to measure everything in cupboard
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I think it's pretty sneaky as well. I think with canned stuff like veggies, they go by the total volume of the can but once you drain off all the water, there is a lot less in the can. I hate it when they put "about 2.5" servings on a can too...wouldn't it make more sense to resize the can so that there are an even number of servings?
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
This is ridiculous and it really makes me upset. I'm sick of being lied to about stupid crap like that.
allisonblue allisonblue 9 years
That makes me mad because the FDA fought SO hard to get those labels on packaged foods in the first place! Read "A Question of Intent" by former FDA commissioner David Kessler (who has an MD from Yale and a JD from U. Chicago -- he's no dummy!) for the full scoop (the book is about his fight against the tobacco industry, but he includes the details of the labeling battle in the chapters about his first months as commissioner).
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
I've often thought that, but never measured. I'm glad I'm not the only one! It's horrible because how can you trust the nutritional facts in comparison then? I try to be especially cautious because I'm working on losing weight, so if I've decided to give myself a treat I could be going way overboard. BOO! :mob:
celebskin22 celebskin22 9 years
i'm so glad you guys noticed too! I was making pasta once and i thought to me self, i measured our one cup and it looked like i just ate 1/3 of the box.....NO way there's six servings in there. True with cereal of all types.
vitvit vitvit 9 years
that is ridiculous!! fit, you're so right; there definitely needs to be some agency that supervises that.
marygrace marygrace 9 years
the chickpea example, and all beans for that matter, is definitely true. i don't get it! or how a box of cereal says there is something like 16 servings, that certainly doesn't feel accurate.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I agree with this. These days it is very less than accurate.
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