Ridiculous serving sizes

So I reach into the fridge to get some ultra-filtered lactose free milk and I read the nutrition label, which states that it only has six carbs per serving. Upon further reading however, it states that a “serving” of milk is only 1 cup. Take a standard coffee cup and fill it only halfway-that is 1 cup. By the way, 1 cup is also a “serving” of Cheerios, and I have never in my whole life seen anyone eat just one cup of cereal during breakfast. Any others?

I think the cereal thing is due to only General Mills and me seeing a bowl as only “part of breakfast.” I have a cup (or less) of cereal, or a serving of oatmeal is 2 tablespoons, but I’ll also have an egg and a couple of strips of bacon. As a kid in high school, I had 3 servings in this over-sized soup bowl I liked, but it was all I ate.

Yeah. Ben & Jerry’s claims a half cup is a serving. If that was true, it would come in half cup cartons.

I think the serving size of Cheerios is one cup because then they could claim that a “serving” only has 110 calories and 24 carbs. It reminds me of the old “Hollywood Diet Bread” scam-the bread didn’t have any fewer calories than regular bread, but the loaf was smaller in size and it was sliced very thin.

Eh, I disagree. My kids eat a cup of cereal and to me cereal is a kids’ thing anyway. A cup of liquid calories is a standard serving to me. Water and coffee are a different thing, but a cup of milk, juice, soft drinks makes sense. Most people refer to around 2-3 cups as a “cup of coffee.” I think we just live in Big Gulp culture.

Or some people are adults or children with impulse control who can store a 4+ serving carton of something in the freezer and don’t need to eat the whole thing while crying or playing video games or watching tv.

Yeah, we live in the age or horrendously enlarged serving sizes, and thus enlarged members of the populace. One cup is the actual serving size for cereal, except for Grape Nuts, which is only 1/4 of a cup. Look at an actual coffee cup, from the days when people drank coffee out of cups, and not mugs – 6 oz is the actual amount of coffee you drink in one cup. People switched to drinking it out of mugs, and then out of oversized mugs. The actual serving of fruit juice used to be only 4 or 6 oz. More than that, you get as much or more sugar than in a can of soda.

No wonder obesity and diabetes are on the rise. We eat and drink too much, way more than we used to.

What about Pepperidge Farm cookies. I don’t care what they claim, a bag is one serving.

Maybe I’m misremembering, but didn’t Diet Coke (or Diet Pepsi?) used to be 2 servings in a 12 oz can? I always figured that’s how they got it down to 1 calorie.

Pepperidge Farm remembers.

I noticed the one liter bottle of flavored seltzer has the nutritional information for both an 8 oz. serving size and the whole bottle.

Of course, that adds up to a helluva lot of zeroes.

I’m grateful that milk is listed as a serving size of 8 ounces, because drink labels seem to do a better job of standardizing than food labels. Last time I was checking food labels, the serving size for a breakfast cereal could be anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup (or apparently, 1/4 cup). I’d rather just know how many calories, etc. are in a given amount of food, and then use that information combined with my own knowledge of how filling a particular food is to decide how to eat.

As an aside, I personally will sometimes have much smaller than a serving size of something. A lot of times after I finish dinner, I want to end with a sweet taste in my mouth but don’t need an entire serving of something. I will sometimes take a bite out of a popsicle and put the rest back in the freezer, or put a tiny bit of cereal in a bowl the size of a saucer with 2 ounces of milk, or take a swig of juice from the carton because it’s just me and my husband in this house and I can.

Personally I don’t mind if the serving sizes are at least aligned with something reasonable, like a common unit of measure like the cup, teaspoon, etc… Or even if it’s a nice multiple of 5 or 12- like 10 chips, or 12 chips, or 15, etc… Those are all arbitrary, but at least they’re sensible in their own fashion.

Where I get irritated is when they pick some arbitrary number of something like “7 chips” and say that’s the serving size, when clearly that’s intended to manipulate the nutritional facts into being more favorable on the label. Or when they’d do something like sell a 20 oz bottle and claim it was 3.2 servings or something like that. Thankfully there has been some recent reform in that sense.

I do agree that the serving sizes ought to be standardized across product categories- like say for sodas/sports drinks/kool-aid type stuff, there’s ONE serving size mandated by the govt. For hot drinks like tea/chai/coffee/etc… there’s another, and so on. That way you could actually compare nutritional facts without having to figure out that chip A has a 7 chip serving size, and chip B has a 9 chip serving size, all the while knowing that you’re not going to eat in multiples of 7 or 9 anyway.

I find that my personal portion size usually lines up pretty well with the listed “serving size”. But I’ve always had a lot of self-discipline regarding how MUCH I eat. I don’t have nearly as much discipline regarding WHAT I eat. But watching portion sizes has kept me healthy and slender for the past 45 years or so.

Yes, I actually DO get 4 servings from a pint of ice cream. On infrequent occasions I might go back for a second serving shortly after finishing the first - if I have an extremely small or low calorie dinner I won’t deny myself a second dessert - but I would make sure that the first serving had time to settle and that I was still hungry.

You and **actualliberalnotoneofthose ** might be soul mates.

Most food manufacturers seem to have grabbed onto “100 calories” as being a serving, no matter what the volume of food is that it takes to equal 100 calories. They are re-defining what “a serving” means thru deceptive marketing; we’ll be lucky if the term isn’t near-meaningless in a decade.

“serving size” is an odd idea anyway. I much prefer uniform info for 100 g. across products.

Same here. Now, I often eat more than “one serving” but what is mentioned as a “serving size” usually seems right to me. For cereal, that’s pretty much exactly what a serving of cereal is to me. I don’t understand “Take a standard coffee cup and fill it only halfway-that is 1 cup.” A standard coffee cup, at least when I worked in a cafe, is like 6 oz. There’s mugs that are much bigger, but a coffee cup, to me is around 6 oz, 8 oz at the most.

And a half cup of ice cream seems exactly right. I don’t go to places like Cold Stone Creamery because even their kids size is more ice cream than I think is a serving. OK, I may go there with my kids and split a kids size with them.

I actually thought this thread was going to be about ridiculous “serving sizes” at restaurants (but I guess that probably would have been titled “portion sizes.”)

“I think a serving size of ice cream is when the spoon hits the bottom of the carton.”

This article (from 2010, so feel free to post an update if you have one) explains how serving sizes are determined: