Calories Don't Match Package Weight

HeyJudii
HeyJudii Posts: 264 Member
Has anyone else come across a food item that has calories listed per serving and per package, where the calorie total listed for the total package doesn't match the package net weight?
(Reading back over that, it sounds garbled. Maybe an example would explain my question better.)

Package net weight is: 70g
Per serving weight is: 35g
Total servings per package is: 2
Calories per serving is: 130
Calories per package is: 270

Every other nutrient/macro listed on the package is doubled for the entire package contents, except the calorie count. I couldn't figure out what the manufacturers reasoning could be so I just doubled the per serving calorie count, since I ate the whole bag.

But it's still making my head hurt trying to figure it out why the different math for the calories.

Replies

  • sollyn23l2
    sollyn23l2 Posts: 1,461 Member
    HeyJudii wrote: »
    Has anyone else come across a food item that has calories listed per serving and per package, where the calorie total listed for the total package doesn't match the package net weight?
    (Reading back over that, it sounds garbled. Maybe an example would explain my question better.)

    Package net weight is: 70g
    Per serving weight is: 35g
    Total servings per package is: 2
    Calories per serving is: 130
    Calories per package is: 270

    Every other nutrient/macro listed on the package is doubled for the entire package contents, except the calorie count. I couldn't figure out what the manufacturers reasoning could be so I just doubled the per serving calorie count, since I ate the whole bag.

    But it's still making my head hurt trying to figure it out why the different math for the calories.

    It's really common. From my understanding, there are 2 main reasons for this: 1 is that food manufacturers round calories up or down based on which number the exact calorie count is closer to, and 2. Food manufacturers are allowed to straight up lie about how many calories are in the food. They are allowed to mis-state the calories by up to 20%. They use this to put the smallest calorie count on the package.
  • paints5555
    paints5555 Posts: 1,227 Member
    sollyn23l2 wrote: »
    HeyJudii wrote: »
    Has anyone else come across a food item that has calories listed per serving and per package, where the calorie total listed for the total package doesn't match the package net weight?
    (Reading back over that, it sounds garbled. Maybe an example would explain my question better.)

    Package net weight is: 70g
    Per serving weight is: 35g
    Total servings per package is: 2
    Calories per serving is: 130
    Calories per package is: 270

    Every other nutrient/macro listed on the package is doubled for the entire package contents, except the calorie count. I couldn't figure out what the manufacturers reasoning could be so I just doubled the per serving calorie count, since I ate the whole bag.

    But it's still making my head hurt trying to figure it out why the different math for the calories.

    It's really common. From my understanding, there are 2 main reasons for this: 1 is that food manufacturers round calories up or down based on which number the exact calorie count is closer to, and 2. Food manufacturers are allowed to straight up lie about how many calories are in the food. They are allowed to mis-state the calories by up to 20%. They use this to put the smallest calorie count on the package.

    1. FDA REQUIRES the rounding on labels. This is not something that manufacturers make up on their own.

    2. The +/- 20% is also part of the labeling regulations. Food is natural and its composition varies. Sometimes a lot. The range allows for that variation. If a manufacturer were to label at the top or bottom of that range, then they are taking a big risk of being in violation when their products vary even a small amount.

    Back to the original question - there is a pretty easy explanation. The example above appears to be a result of rounding that is required (see #1). Products with calories above 50 per serving are required to be rounded to the nearest 10 calories. So both the 130 and 270 are likely rounded numbers. Maybe the actual calories for 1 serving is 134 (rounds down to 130) but the total for 2 servings (268) would round up to 270.

    Another reason why a package containing 2 servings is not just 2x the amount for 1 serving is that the number of servings in the container is not an exact number. Look for the word "About" in the number of servings. "About X servings" means that it is rounded and the exact number can be higher or lower. As an example, a can of chili I have in my desk - 1 serving is 260g and 250 calories. The entire can (about 2 servings) is 396g. 2x250 would be 500 calories but the full can is labeled 410 calories.

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,401 Member
    Lol, because deceptive labeling sells product. There's a whole thread on this.

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10894235/how-us-labeling-is-decieving/p1

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 35+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • HeyJudii
    HeyJudii Posts: 264 Member
    @sollyn23l2

    Thanks for the reply. I have seen packages where the amount of calories for the entire package doesn't make sense based on the calories for multiple servings, but then when looking at the net weight I can see why. If one serving is 35 g and the entire package is 80 g, then that needs to be figured in when multiplying.
    But this packages weight was exactly 2 servings. lol
    Anyway, after my OP, I thought about it and realized that it was probably due to the actual servings calories being something like 134-ish calories, and they were using that old "It's 0 calories!" when actually it's 4 calories, advertising trick.