# Unrealistic Portion Sizes

## Replies

• Posts: 9,489 Member
Those little cups of soup made to take on the go. They're 2 servings! First - they are very small and 2nd if you're out and about what the heck would you do with the other 1/2 of the soup?!
• Posts: 1,396 Member
I just tend to avoid those types of food.. I'd rather be full
• Posts: 525 Member
My husband is super sad about portion size for cereal, which he loves. He showed me a bowl and it was kind of ridiculous.
• Posts: 30 Member
edited January 2017
steplaj wrote: »
Portion control is always a problem for me. I have gotten better and have actually started to measure out a lot of foods, for example, the other night I had spaghetti sauce on my pasta and actually measured out the sauce so I could accurately log my numbers.

The problem I have with logging is that the measurements do not always match. For example, MFP may have [per ounce, per 8oz, per 1 cup] but the food you are eating is measure in units such as [service size = 3 cookies], so I end up guesstimating the equivalence. I always try to over estimate so my cal. err on the higher side. But it makes it more difficult to accurately track your intake.

This is only complicated more when you are not at home and do not have the tools to accurately measure out your portions. When I am at work and eating at the cafeteria, I often find myself having to guesstimate. This makes portion planning much more difficult.

Have you tried a food scale? It takes a lot of the guess work out of the equation. You can find them pretty cheap for like \$10-15.

Revised to edit: Sorry i didnt realize you were talking about when you're at work
• Posts: 7,491 Member
I don't use serving sizes for this reason.I determine what i'm going to eat. I determine what is a serving.

Then I weight and count the calories.

IMO relying on american "serving sizes" especially the ones like "approx. 13 chips" or "serving size 1/3 can" or "serving size 1 pastry" (props if you can guess which foods these are on) is just SILLY!
• Posts: 137 Member
The portion sizes drive me nuts. I feel that anything that's packaged to be sold from a vending machine needs to be labeled as 1 serving. That's what it is, A SINGLE SERVING. Now if they want to put 1 serving as something other than the entire package, then it also needs to have an amount for the entire package as well.
• Posts: 3,453 Member
em_glidd wrote: »
I hate this! For pickle spears, a serving is usually like 2/3 of a spear. Who would do that?!

YESSSSS. Pickles! It's not like they are calorie bombs or anything, but WHAT GIVES with the serving size!!!
• Posts: 3,453 Member
pinuplove wrote: »
pinuplove wrote: »
Pre-logging my dinner and a serving of Ore Ida Crispy Crowns is 11 tater tots. WHO EATS JUST 11 TATER TOTS?? I do now, apparently...

sadly, if you weighed the tots and compared them to the grams listed for the 11 tot serving you'd be further disappointed. it's usually closer to 9 tots.

Thanks - I'll weigh them to be sure! These are the flat discs not typical tater tot shaped so I'm not giving up hope yet

I eat the crispy crowns also, and surprisingly find 11 of them more satisfying than I thought I would. I do think it's a bit ridiculous of a serving, but I actually observed that as an NSV last week.

Now, I could be convinced to forget about the rest of anything on the dinner menu and eat 3-4 servings of just crispy crowns dipped in nacho cheese or green chili! THAT's some dinner if you ask me!
• Posts: 2,493 Member
In the UK we have printed nutritional information for 100g of product.

So if you're weighing your intake arbitrary servings and portion sizes are redundant.
• Posts: 4,049 Member
steplaj wrote: »
Portion control is always a problem for me. I have gotten better and have actually started to measure out a lot of foods, for example, the other night I had spaghetti sauce on my pasta and actually measured out the sauce so I could accurately log my numbers.

The problem I have with logging is that the measurements do not always match. For example, MFP may have [per ounce, per 8oz, per 1 cup] but the food you are eating is measure in units such as [service size = 3 cookies], so I end up guesstimating the equivalence. I always try to over estimate so my cal. err on the higher side. But it makes it more difficult to accurately track your intake.

This is only complicated more when you are not at home and do not have the tools to accurately measure out your portions. When I am at work and eating at the cafeteria, I often find myself having to guesstimate. This makes portion planning much more difficult.

Modify the nutritional information by correcting the servings to oz or grams. Easy to do and it will be very much appreciated to the users.
• Posts: 1,530 Member
Some of the designated portion sizes are absurd. Who eats one slice of bread or just 2 cookies, or just a small chunk of cheese? I guess some people do, but I certainly am not satisfied with some meager amount. I try to avoid anything with a tiny serving size for the calories. I do not want to be left feeling like I have been seduced and abandoned by some fairy sized nibble of something I want to stuff my face with. I will make an exception if my craving is strong, or if I am having a day where I just allow myself not to worry about calories. Still tracking it mind you, just not worried about whether I go over by several hundred. So that bag of chips would have it's day someday.
• Posts: 30,886 Member
edited January 2017
gdsmit1 wrote: »
The portion sizes drive me nuts. I feel that anything that's packaged to be sold from a vending machine needs to be labeled as 1 serving. That's what it is, A SINGLE SERVING. Now if they want to put 1 serving as something other than the entire package, then it also needs to have an amount for the entire package as well.

I agree with you, but there's still a part of me that thinks that it shouldn't be that hard to do 120 cal x 2.5=300 for the whole package, and maybe Americans should be able to do math also.

Also, the 100 g thing (which I do like) wouldn't help with this.

Say we have 60 g/serving, 2.5 servings, 120 cal/serving and 100 g=200 cal.

In trying to figure out what's in the package 100 g wouldn't help (still easier to do 120x2.5) and what 100 g of that product is probably isn't going to mean much to me.

Personally, most servings sizes make sense to me as amounts (calories per slice of bread or oz of cheese seems to me the obvious right amount, and calories per 100 g of bread would be awful, although of course you'd have slice also, so it would just be for comparison purposes and a nice thing as a second piece of information).

Anyway, like rainbowbow I am a fan of ignoring serving size and deciding for yourself what a proper serving should be.
• Posts: 142 Member
ValeriePlz wrote: »
My husband is super sad about portion size for cereal, which he loves. He showed me a bowl and it was kind of ridiculous.

This.

Who eats 3/4 cup of cereal? Especially when you put it in the bowl it's like child sized lol
• Posts: 1,530 Member
edited January 2017
lemurcat12 wrote: »
gdsmit1 wrote: »
The portion sizes drive me nuts. I feel that anything that's packaged to be sold from a vending machine needs to be labeled as 1 serving. That's what it is, A SINGLE SERVING. Now if they want to put 1 serving as something other than the entire package, then it also needs to have an amount for the entire package as well.

I agree with you, but there's still a part of me that thinks that it shouldn't be that hard to do 120 cal x 2.5=300 for the whole package, and maybe Americans should be able to do math also.

Also, the 100 g thing (which I do like) wouldn't help with this.

Say we have 60 g/serving, 2.5 servings, 120 cal/serving and 100 g=200 cal.

In trying to figure out what's in the package 100 g wouldn't help (still easier to do 120x2.5) and what 100 g of that product is probably isn't going to mean much to me.

Personally, most servings sizes make sense to me as amounts (calories per slice of bread or oz of cheese seems to me the obvious right amount, and calories per 100 g of bread would be awful, although of course you'd have slice also, so it would just be for comparison purposes and a nice thing as a second piece of information).

Anyway, like rainbowbow I am a fan of ignoring serving size and deciding for yourself what a proper serving should be.

So because people are surprised or annoyed at the serving size for the calories they somehow aren't deciding how much they want to eat? That doesn't make any sense. The package tells us how many calories for a certain amount of whatever the food may be. People may then have a serving or more and do the math. No one is saying that they aren't going to eat how much they want to eat.

And yes, Americans are able to perform basic math when it is called for. That is kind of a rude sentiment to suggest that they can't.
• Posts: 30,886 Member
lemurcat12 wrote: »
gdsmit1 wrote: »
The portion sizes drive me nuts. I feel that anything that's packaged to be sold from a vending machine needs to be labeled as 1 serving. That's what it is, A SINGLE SERVING. Now if they want to put 1 serving as something other than the entire package, then it also needs to have an amount for the entire package as well.

I agree with you, but there's still a part of me that thinks that it shouldn't be that hard to do 120 cal x 2.5=300 for the whole package, and maybe Americans should be able to do math also.

Also, the 100 g thing (which I do like) wouldn't help with this.

Say we have 60 g/serving, 2.5 servings, 120 cal/serving and 100 g=200 cal.

In trying to figure out what's in the package 100 g wouldn't help (still easier to do 120x2.5) and what 100 g of that product is probably isn't going to mean much to me.

Personally, most servings sizes make sense to me as amounts (calories per slice of bread or oz of cheese seems to me the obvious right amount, and calories per 100 g of bread would be awful, although of course you'd have slice also, so it would just be for comparison purposes and a nice thing as a second piece of information).

Anyway, like rainbowbow I am a fan of ignoring serving size and deciding for yourself what a proper serving should be.

So because people are surprised or annoyed at the serving size for the calories they somehow aren't deciding how much they want to eat?

I didn't say that at all. You are reading it in. The comment about picking your own serving size had 0 to do with being surprised or annoyed at what they are, but was merely an endorsement for rainbowbow's comment above. I know a serving size for meat is generally 3 oz, but who cares? On the other hand, for me the package serving size for pasta (56 oz) is quite generous and I normally use it.
And yes, Americans are able to perform basic math when it is called for. That is kind of a rude sentiment to suggest that they can't.

If it's too hard to figure out the number of calories in a package if the package contains 2.5 servings, yes, people need to improve their math skills (which lots of other evidence suggests is so anyway). Plus you seem to have taken that WAY more seriously than it was meant, wow.
• Posts: 1,530 Member
lemurcat12 wrote: »
lemurcat12 wrote: »
gdsmit1 wrote: »
The portion sizes drive me nuts. I feel that anything that's packaged to be sold from a vending machine needs to be labeled as 1 serving. That's what it is, A SINGLE SERVING. Now if they want to put 1 serving as something other than the entire package, then it also needs to have an amount for the entire package as well.

I agree with you, but there's still a part of me that thinks that it shouldn't be that hard to do 120 cal x 2.5=300 for the whole package, and maybe Americans should be able to do math also.

Also, the 100 g thing (which I do like) wouldn't help with this.

Say we have 60 g/serving, 2.5 servings, 120 cal/serving and 100 g=200 cal.

In trying to figure out what's in the package 100 g wouldn't help (still easier to do 120x2.5) and what 100 g of that product is probably isn't going to mean much to me.

Personally, most servings sizes make sense to me as amounts (calories per slice of bread or oz of cheese seems to me the obvious right amount, and calories per 100 g of bread would be awful, although of course you'd have slice also, so it would just be for comparison purposes and a nice thing as a second piece of information).

Anyway, like rainbowbow I am a fan of ignoring serving size and deciding for yourself what a proper serving should be.

So because people are surprised or annoyed at the serving size for the calories they somehow aren't deciding how much they want to eat?

I didn't say that at all. You are reading it in. The comment about picking your own serving size had 0 to do with being surprised or annoyed at what they are, but was merely an endorsement for rainbowbow's comment above. I know a serving size for meat is generally 3 oz, but who cares? On the other hand, for me the package serving size for pasta (56 oz) is quite generous and I normally use it.
And yes, Americans are able to perform basic math when it is called for. That is kind of a rude sentiment to suggest that they can't.

If it's too hard to figure out the number of calories in a package if the package contains 2.5 servings, yes, people need to improve their math skills (which lots of other evidence suggests is so anyway). Plus you seem to have taken that WAY more seriously than it was meant, wow.

• Posts: 588 Member
steplaj wrote: »
Portion control is always a problem for me. I have gotten better and have actually started to measure out a lot of foods, for example, the other night I had spaghetti sauce on my pasta and actually measured out the sauce so I could accurately log my numbers.

The problem I have with logging is that the measurements do not always match. For example, MFP may have [per ounce, per 8oz, per 1 cup] but the food you are eating is measure in units such as [service size = 3 cookies], so I end up guesstimating the equivalence. I always try to over estimate so my cal. err on the higher side. But it makes it more difficult to accurately track your intake.

This is only complicated more when you are not at home and do not have the tools to accurately measure out your portions. When I am at work and eating at the cafeteria, I often find myself having to guesstimate. This makes portion planning much more difficult.

Have you tried a food scale? It takes a lot of the guess work out of the equation. You can find them pretty cheap for like \$10-15.

Revised to edit: Sorry i didnt realize you were talking about when you're at work

I do have a food scale. Sometimes the scale does help, but not always and you can't exactly carry one with you all the time... I do use glass "beaker style" measuring cups which are really nice and help out a lot. I have them all the way up to 3-cups and they break down into much smaller increments.
• Posts: 30,886 Member
It's certainly not what I intended to suggest.

What I said:

(1) "Personally, most servings sizes make sense to me as amounts (calories per slice of bread or oz of cheese seems to me the obvious right amount, and calories per 100 g of bread would be awful, although of course you'd have slice also, so it would just be for comparison purposes and a nice thing as a second piece of information)."

and

(2) "Anyway, like rainbowbow I am a fan of ignoring serving size and deciding for yourself what a proper serving should be."

They were two separate comments, as the "anyway" was intended to suggest. The second referred to a prior comment by rainbowbow: "I don't use serving sizes for this reason. I determine what i'm going to eat. I determine what is a serving. Then I weight and count the calories."

I did not at all say "someone who cares about serving sizes must be unable to eat a different amount than the serving size." In that above I ALSO criticized serving sizes (specifically ones that are not whole numbers), that is an odd way to read the comment.

In case it's still not clear, I will rephrase:

(1) In terms of actual behavior, I don't think anyone should worry about the serving size in choosing how much to eat. (And I am not assuming that anyone here is doing so.) Back when I used to eat more premade stuff I ate a lot of rice and beans (packaged product) and since I was using it as a one pot dish (I added veg and goat cheese), I took the 6 servings for 150 cal and changed it to 2 servings for 450 cal or 3 for 300 cal and ate a third or half of the package. I wasn't counting calories, but I still read labels, always have.

(2) As for the serving sizes on packages, most of them make sense to me -- I think a slice of bread is the obvious unit for bread (easy to double if you have two pieces), a bun is the obvious unit for a bun, an oz of cheese is a good unit for cheese, and 56 g for pasta and .5 cup for ice cream (although I know that one is getting changed) make sense to me too. Even 7 pringles seems sensible enough and is likely close to what a small bag of chips is (although I don't eat chips often so am not an expert). I do agree that it is annoying and dumb to have not whole number units, though, and would like that gotten rid of. I also have been convinced that there are benefits to the non US practice of 100 g as an alternative measurement on the package. BUT, as a lighthearted comment, given that it's valuable to be able to do simple math, it's possible to defend even the silly sizes as requiring us to practice that. (Not totally serious.)

Does that help? Or do you want to find something else that I have said to take great umbrage at?
• Posts: 16,051 Member
edited January 2017
cityruss wrote: »
In the UK we have printed nutritional information for 100g of product.

So if you're weighing your intake arbitrary servings and portion sizes are redundant.

Same in Australia, I do not understand this "serving size" thing at all. Why not just weigh whatever you're eating on a scale and log what you've eaten in grams??
• Posts: 25,878 Member
cityruss wrote: »
In the UK we have printed nutritional information for 100g of product.

So if you're weighing your intake arbitrary servings and portion sizes are redundant.

Same in Australia, I do not understand this "serving size" thing at all. Why not just weigh whatever you're eating on a scale and log what you've eaten in grams??

My understanding is that the idea behind having a serving size on the package is that it will help people quickly tell the nutritional value they're likely to get. The serving size isn't based on what someone thinks we *ought* to eat, it's based on research showing what people actually eat. That is why you will sometimes have silly serving sizes like 2/3rd of a pickle or 3/4 of a bag of chips. They were never meant to convey a recommendation as to what someone should eat (though they are often taken that way).

As to the validity of the research showing what people actually eat of a food, I'm not sure how it is conducted or if it is based on self-reporting.