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Old 10-26-05, 12:42 PM
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Serving Size

While we're on the topic of supersizing ... I've got a little pet peeve: serving sizes.

How many of us really know how big a serving size is?

Would you assume that a 500 ml bottle of coke is one serving? If so, you would be assuming incorrectly. A 500 ml bottle of coke is something like 2.2 servings. But who on earth drinks a little less than half of a 500 ml bottle of coke, and puts the bottle back in the fridge?? Most people drink the whole thing. However, the calories listed on the side of the bottle list them for one serving, not for the whole bottle. To figure out how many calories you've consumed when you drink the whole bottle, you have to do some math.

This site explains serving sizes:
http://www.mckinley.uiuc.edu/Handout...servsizes.html

One serving of rice or pasta is ... any guesses??? Half a cup. That's NOT very much. I don't know about you, but I can easily put away at least 2 cups (or 4 servings) of rice or pasta at one go.

One serving of french fries is .... well?? 10 french fries. Again, not much!


We've probably all seen the Canadain Food Guide or the Food Pyramid used in the US. Those guides are fine for promoting a well-balanced diet, but my issue with them is the whole serving size thing.

IMO, I think they should increase serving sizes to a realistic amount that most people can relate to. Then instead of saying that we need to eat 5-12 servings of "grains" (which, incidentally is the equivalent to a bagel or two), they would say we need 1 or 2 servings of grains a day. When I first took a look at that 5-12 servings a day thing, my initial reaction was: "I could never eat that much! I'd be as big as a house!!" But actually those 5-12 servings are quite tiny.

If the government really wants to start helping people become well ... I think the government needs to make the information easier to understand, and simpler to follow.
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Old 10-26-05, 01:36 PM
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I've always known about the serving sizes conspiracy, and I do find it amusing sometimes.

Originally Posted by Machka
One serving of rice or pasta is ... any guesses??? Half a cup. That's NOT very much. I don't know about you, but I can easily put away at least 2 cups (or 4 servings) of rice or pasta at one go.
It depends on whether that's a 1/2 cup of dry rice or cooked rice. Yeh, a 1/2 cup of cooked rice is like two bites, but a 1/2 cup of dry rice actually ends up being a fair amount once it absorbs all the water from cooking. Same thing with pasta, oatmeal, etc.
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Old 10-26-05, 05:00 PM
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A serving of pasta is only 2oz(8 servings in 1 box of pasta). Try using foods that hold more water and fluff up more like basmati rice and angle hair. After a while 1 serving is quite filling(also add more veggies to make up the void)
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Old 10-26-05, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Dwayne
It depends on whether that's a 1/2 cup of dry rice or cooked rice. Yeh, a 1/2 cup of cooked rice is like two bites, but a 1/2 cup of dry rice actually ends up being a fair amount once it absorbs all the water from cooking. Same thing with pasta, oatmeal, etc.

That's half a cup of COOKED rice: http://nhlbisupport.com/chd1/Tipsheets/sevenways.htm

Who only eats half a cup of cooked rice at a meal ... unless you're recovering from the flu and haven't regained your appetite, or something!!
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Old 10-26-05, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jrennie
A serving of pasta is only 2oz(8 servings in 1 box of pasta). Try using foods that hold more water and fluff up more like basmati rice and angle hair. After a while 1 serving is quite filling(also add more veggies to make up the void)
Your answer just shows me you don't get the whole serving thing ... a serving of rice and a serving of veggies are one serving each of two different food groups ... but one + one does not = 1 serving in total. Your half-cup of cooked rice + your half cup of cooked brocolli = TWO servings of food.

Now tell me ... do YOU find 1/4 cup of cooked rice and 1/4 cup of brocolli (one serving in total) to be filling? I sure don't!!
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Old 10-26-05, 07:43 PM
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I don't get it. You're just now figuring this out?
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Old 10-26-05, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
I don't get it. You're just now figuring this out?

No, I've known it for quite some time ... and it has annoyed me for some time ... but in watching the movie SuperSize me over the past week it came to my attention that there are a lot of people out there who don't know it.
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Old 10-26-05, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
No, I've known it for quite some time ... and it has annoyed me for some time ... but in watching the movie SuperSize me over the past week it came to my attention that there are a lot of people out there who don't know it.
ah I see. I know exactly what you mean. I feel the same. But I don't think the guy who said eat more veggies thinks/thought that the meal would = one serving. I think he was saying to include lower calorie foods.
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Old 10-27-05, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
ah I see. I know exactly what you mean. I feel the same. But I don't think the guy who said eat more veggies thinks/thought that the meal would = one serving. I think he was saying to include lower calorie foods.
I agree - one serving of pasta plus one serving of veggies is a lot better for you, and more filling than two servings of pasta. I think the poster was just trying to show how to be satisfied with one serving of pasta. I don't know of any diet that would restrict servings of veggies!
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Old 10-27-05, 10:09 AM
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I agree with you Machka, i dont understand the reasoning behind the food guides, pyramids. But i have to believe they have had a lot of smart people sit around and figure out the best method of presenting it. If so, all i can think of is the following...

Take grain products...they say a person needs 5-12 servings. As you point out, that equates in the real world as a bagel and a pb&j sandwich.

For the people like ourselves, who are aware of our food intake and exercise, the pyramids dont do much. we each have our own eating requirements, what foods we skip, etc. We look at them with curiosity but search out better information and make our own diets.

The average person whos overweight, and leads a sedentary life, is who the pyramid will most likely benefit. They are the ones who at some point in their life decide to make a go of trying to get healthy. Food pyramids are their first source of info.

If they looked at a pyramid and saw "your allowed 1 bagel, 10 french fries, 4 grapes, and a 1/2 cup of broth a day" they would say they cant survive on that, and go back to the couch with a bag of pork rinds.
But....if they look and see that they are allowed 12 servings of grain, 15 servings of fruit, etc then maybe they decide to try it.

They most likely dont follow the actual serving size/quantity, but more just the ratio of more grain, fruit, less meat and fat, etc. And thats a good thing. Get them started with the ratio, then later whif they stick with it, they can educate themselves on calaries a day in and out, etc. At that point they have progressed past the pyramid and become one of us, able to make good choices on their own.

But ya, 10 french fries ? Who the frick eats 10 french fries or 1/2 a cup of rice ? Thats like 2 peices of sushi, and who gets full on that ! I go to all you can eat sushi, pig out big time, and convince myself its good for me cause its all rice and fish
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Old 10-27-05, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Your answer just shows me you don't get the whole serving thing ... a serving of rice and a serving of veggies are one serving each of two different food groups ... but one + one does not = 1 serving in total. Your half-cup of cooked rice + your half cup of cooked brocolli = TWO servings of food.

Now tell me ... do YOU find 1/4 cup of cooked rice and 1/4 cup of brocolli (one serving in total) to be filling? I sure don't!!
Machka, I think it is you who doesn't get the whole serving thing. 1 serving != 1 meal. Yes, the standard serving sizes are considerably smaller than what most people eat, but they're not as ridiculous as you are making them out to be. If most people could stick to the serving sizes that are listed on the packages, then we'd have a lot less obesity (myself included). A meal is made up of multiple servings of different foods, some meat, some bread, some vegetables, some dairy, etc.
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Old 10-27-05, 11:03 AM
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I agree to a point. Serving size guidelines could use some tweaking.

Those of us who are very active put away a lot of food. Especially carbs. However, the food guides and pyramids are intended or everybody, including couch potatoes, little old ladies and young children. For them, the small serving sizes make more sense.
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Old 10-27-05, 12:11 PM
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I agree to a point on the serving size. I'm not that big of soft drinks, but we had company last weekend and I wanted to pick up a six-pack of diet coke or something at the store. When I was growing up, soft drinks were always 12 ounces. But I was a little ticked off that all they had were 24-packs of 12 oz cans or six-packs of 24 oz cans. Or those giant two liter bottles. Soon, they will probably only sell kegs! No wonder we are all as big as a house!

I'm not sure whether to blame this on marketing (easier to sell 1 24-pack than 4 six-packs), or bargain-hungry consumers...
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Old 10-27-05, 12:38 PM
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It's eye-opening to vist foreign countries and see that, for instance, they have smaller cans of soda... Smaller portions, less weight problems -- do you think there might be a connection?
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Old 10-27-05, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by lws
It's eye-opening to vist foreign countries and see that, for instance, they have smaller cans of soda... Smaller portions, less weight problems -- do you think there might be a connection?
of course not. We're America, we're the best at everything. The other countries must be cheating to be so thin.
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Old 10-27-05, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by lws
Machka, I think it is you who doesn't get the whole serving thing. 1 serving != 1 meal. Yes, the standard serving sizes are considerably smaller than what most people eat, but they're not as ridiculous as you are making them out to be. If most people could stick to the serving sizes that are listed on the packages, then we'd have a lot less obesity (myself included). A meal is made up of multiple servings of different foods, some meat, some bread, some vegetables, some dairy, etc.
Did you take a look at those sites I posted? No where in them do the indicate that one serving = one meal. They mention one serving of this and one serving of that from various food groups, a collection of which make up a meal. Take the 5-12 servings of grains for example. One serving of grains is approx. one slice of bread. Over the course of a day, we need to eat 5-12 slices of bread (or the equivalent) to reach our requirements. So that's "serving size" according to the food guides.

However, then there's "serving size" according to the processed food companies ... and this is where it gets really confusing. One company making a frozen dinner, for example, will tell you that their 350g pasta and brocolli dinner is one serving ... and the next company will tell you that their virtually identical 400g pasta and brocolli dinner is one serving.

I picked up some microwave popcorn from the grocery store today and took a look at the calories per serving before I made my selection. One box told me that a "serving" was 43g and had 160 calories. The next box, made by the same company, told me that one "serving" was 30g and had 144 calories. A third box, made by a different company, indicated that one "serving" was 33g and had 158 calories. Knowing that microwave popcorn is very high in calories, and knowing that most people will put away a whole bag in one sitting, the companies have opted to make it look like their popcorn really isn't that bad. But here's the real story:

Bag A (43g servings, 160 calories) had bags of popcorn that were 86g. So one bag is 320 calories (or 372 calories per 100g)
Bag B (30g servings, 144 calories) had bags of popcorn that were 98g. So one bag is ... got your calculators out? ... 470.4 calories (or 480 calories per 100g)
Bag C (33g servings, 158 calories) had bags of popcorn that were 100g. So one bag is 478.8 calories.

And that is the issue I have ... at first glance it would seem that Bag B would be the best choice - it's only got 144 calories per serving! But then you've got to do all sorts of mathematical calculations, which the average person is not going to do, to discover that it is actually the worst choice.

If all companies standardized the serving sizes to something that people could relate to, I think it would be so much easier for people to make healthy choices.
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Old 10-27-05, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Your answer just shows me you don't get the whole serving thing ... a serving of rice and a serving of veggies are one serving each of two different food groups ... but one + one does not = 1 serving in total. Your half-cup of cooked rice + your half cup of cooked brocolli = TWO servings of food.

Now tell me ... do YOU find 1/4 cup of cooked rice and 1/4 cup of brocolli (one serving in total) to be filling? I sure don't!!
Do you even need to count calories with all the excersize you get jumping to conclusions?? 1/4 cup of rice is not very filling which is why I said to mix in veggies as part of a meal

1/4c rice 1 serving
1/2c brocolli 1 serving
6oz Chicken breast 1.5 servings = a meal not a serving
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Old 10-27-05, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jrennie
Do you even need to count calories with all the excersize you get jumping to conclusions?? 1/4 cup of rice is not very filling which is why I said to mix in veggies as part of a meal

1/4c rice 1 serving
1/2c brocolli 1 serving
6oz Chicken breast 1.5 servings = a meal not a serving

But this whole thread isn't about what consitutes a MEAL ... it is about serving sizes. See the title? I don't care what goes into a meal ... obviously you need more than one serving of food to make up a meal, and obviously you need a variety of foods ......... my pet peeve is: why are serving sizes unrealistic and inconsistant? Why can't there be some sort of realistic standardization to make them easier for the average person to understand and calculate while standing there in the grocery store making choices?
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Old 10-27-05, 05:53 PM
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Yeah, like who would ever drink 3/4 of a can of soda and put the rest away for next time? Then drink the remainder of that can and 1/4th of the next one? Serving sizes should somehow be set on some average or median amount that people actually eat. Soda servings should be based on a full 12oz can. Fries should be a complete small basket. Chips & crackers should be two handfuls, not 10 flakes.

Saw the funniest thing in the market the other day: "Reduced-Carb Bagels". The serving-size was the same as the other packages of bagels: "1 bagel". So I look at the nutrition label and yes, this bagel does only have 30gm of carbs and 140 calories per "serving" vs. the next bag of standard bagles with 50gm of carbs and 230 calories per serving... better right? Hmmm... then I took a 2nd look at the calculations and nothing's really reduced, carbs are the primary source of calories and the percentage was still about the same... hmmm... Open up the bag and peeked inside... AHAH!!! They just made the bagels SMALLER !!!! Reduced-carbs my *ss!!!

Personally, I think they should get rid of "servings" altogether and just list total calories in the package. A 2-liter of soda should say exactly how much is in that entire bottle, 1000 calories. A bag of chips should say exactly whatever's in the entire bag. Same with a box of crackers, a dozen-container of eggs, etc.

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Old 10-27-05, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by M ......... my pet peeve is: why are [b
serving sizes[/b] unrealistic and inconsistant? Why can't there be some sort of realistic standardization to make them easier for the average person to understand and calculate while standing there in the grocery store making choices?
Because the manufactures are hoping that the consumers don't pay that much attention. They just want us to read that there only so many grams of fat and so many calories, and completely miss the fact that we're consuming 2 or 3 times what it seems.
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Old 10-27-05, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
Yeah, like who would ever drink 3/4 of a can of soda and put the rest away for next time? Then drink the remainder of that can and 1/4th of the next one? Serving sizes should somehow be set on some average or median amount that people actually eat. Soda servings should be based on a full 12oz can. Fries should be a complete small basket. Chips & crackers should be two handfuls, not 10 flakes.

Saw the funniest thing in the market the other day: "Reduced-Carb Bagels". The serving-size was the same as the other packages of bagels: "1 bagel". So I look at the nutrition label and yes, this bagel does only have 30gm of carbs and 140 calories per "serving" vs. the next bag of standard bagles with 50gm of carbs and 230 calories per serving... better right? Hmmm... then I took a 2nd look at the calculations and nothing's really reduced, carbs are the primary source of calories and the percentage was still about the same... hmmm... Open up the bag and peeked inside... AHAH!!! They just made the bagels SMALLER !!!! Reduced-carbs my *ss!!!

Personally, I think they should get rid of "servings" altogether and just list total calories in the package. A 2-liter of soda should say exactly how much is in that entire bottle, 1000 calories. A bag of chips should say exactly whatever's in the entire bag. Same with a box of crackers, a dozen-container of eggs, etc.

Exactly what I think!!!! I figure they should list the nutrients in the entire product ... not some unrealistic division of the product. Or if not, then they should list it by 100 grams or mls, or some number that's easy to calculate. If you've got a 500 ml bottle of pop and you know that it's got 100 calories per 100 mls, it is easy to make the calculation to figure out how much is in 500 mls .... you wouldn't have to multiply by some fractional number. And if every company based their nutritional information on the same measurement, then we consumers could make informed decisions about the products we buy without the use of a calculator.
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Old 10-27-05, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by OC Roadie
Because the manufactures are hoping that the consumers don't pay that much attention. They just want us to read that there only so many grams of fat and so many calories, and completely miss the fact that we're consuming 2 or 3 times what it seems.
I think you're absolutely right.

The calories listed on most product, at first glance, are quite low. With the exception of energy bars, and possibly a few other things, most products seem to keep the number of calories printed on the package under 200 calories ... even if they have to make a "serving" equal to something odd like 13 crackers, or 227 mls.
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Old 10-27-05, 08:05 PM
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The FDA is working on standardized labeling, but who knows how long this will take. Like the joke I read today said, "Too bad growing old doesn't pass through Congress." For now I do the math in my head, your mind needs exercise too.

Here is a link to the new food pyramid, that goes by activity level for calories. But, the portion sizes are still the same. http://www.mypyramid.gov/
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Old 10-27-05, 08:50 PM
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Machka,

The FDA is working on standardizing the serving sizes used on the Nutrition Facts food labels. Currently, these amounts are up to the discretion of the manufacturer. As you have noticed, many manufacturers use small serving sizes to obsfucate the true nutritional values by listing small and/or odd sized servings that many consumers are not able to convert to the amount typically eaten.

The FDA's goal is apparently to standardize the serving size to an amount normally eaten. Until then, read carefully.
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Old 10-27-05, 09:16 PM
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I used to weigh all my meals with a small triple-beam balance. Also great for weighing bike-parts. People thought I was a drug dealer...
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