The Daily Feed: Finally, Hope For Serving Size Transparency

My favorite cereal bowl is white, smooth, and utilitarian. Don’t ask me how much it holds. I have no idea.

Each morning I dump some cereal into that bowl. Then I eat it. I never calculate how many calories I’m actually consuming because I don’t know if my bowl holds two cups, or three. I don’t measure. I just eat. 

It turns out many food companies have been listing serving sizes way under what the average American consumes. They’ve been doing this for years, and we’ve been silent accomplices. Although I’m a die-hard label-reader, I’ve never really considered how laughably misleading these labels can be.

Bags that look single servings often contain two, or two and a half. Drinks that seem designed for one thirsty soul may tout nutrition data for three. And microwavable meals, in ready-to-heat bowls, may contain nutrition data based on minute serving sizes. Who eats microwavable soup in two sittings? No one. 

Kudos to the FDA for recognizing this disconnect, and, as part of their push for front-of-the-box labeling, encouraging manufacturers to up their serving sizes. It’s time we finally got some transparent, and useful, information from our labels.


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule.

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