Calorie Counters - Fine print vs. large print...rant

View Full Version : Fine print vs. large print...rant

01-17-2010, 02:22 PM
This is just wrong, I think.

I just made some whole wheat pasta for the four of us for lunch. I checked the nutrition label.


small print: serving size equals 2 oz, approximately 7 servings per box; 180 calories per serving.

What, please, is the difference between a "portion" and a "serving"? Had I done the "portions" suggested in LARGE print, I'd have doubled my calories! I just think that's wrong.

01-17-2010, 02:34 PM
That's insane!! What were they thinking?

01-17-2010, 02:36 PM
It was "Healthy Harvest" brand too. Not generic.

Wild Vulpix
01-17-2010, 02:43 PM
Wow! That's horrible!!!

If anyone knows, I'd like to know how serving sizes are determined. Is there a standard? Who gets to choose?

In fact, I just discovered something really similar on my Goldfish box.

Big bold print on the top: Cholesterol Free
Little tiny print on the bottom: Cheddar Cheese adds a trivial amount of cholesterol.

You can't have it both ways! Either there's none, or there's a 'trivial amount'!

01-17-2010, 02:57 PM
Well pasta is pretty much always a 2 oz serving. For unique products I'm sure the manufacturer decides whatever they want as far as serving size.

One thing I do is I always just turn right to the nutrition label. I don't look at ANYTHING else. Once your trained it won't matter what the "large print" says.

01-17-2010, 05:39 PM
I check the nutrition label first too, but I guess I assume when I read the package telling me how to cook it, it will tell me according to the serving size. For instance, I know a serving size of Steel Cut oats is 1/4 cup dry and has 150 calories. Then I go to the directions for cooking it and it tells me to boil 1.5 cups of water and then add 1/4 cup of dry oats. These directions directly match the serving size on the nutrition label. This box of pasta, which only caught my eye because it was so large, told me that to serve four people I should make the whole box!! I never read directions for cooking pasta as I already know how to do it. ;) But it took up the entire back end of the box. It was hard to miss. I thought it was very misleading.

01-17-2010, 06:04 PM
I feel your frustration. Since I have began counting calories, I have a growing frustration regarding servings and portions. My pet peeve is when a serving is determined by dry weight only and you have no idea how much it will weigh when cooked. It makes it harder to portion your serving from an entirerecipe. I usually end up cooking a single portion separately then weighing the cooked product for future reference. It's a pain in the behind :)

01-17-2010, 06:24 PM
You can probably google (I'm a google addict) and get an email for their customer service department. That'd be something to let them know about. Perhaps if enough people complain, they'll DO something.

01-17-2010, 06:56 PM

01-17-2010, 07:00 PM
Sticker shock still happens to me. I feel your pain.

01-18-2010, 10:44 AM
I noticed that on a box of Barilla Plus pasta the other day, and thought it did seem a little sneaky and misleading.

They want to make it seem like there's a ton of fiber and protein in the pasta... so they put on a big label saying "X grams per portion!" which is some arbitrary "portion" that has nothing to do with the normal, standard serving size.

When it comes to the numbers, I ignore everything on the box outside of the nutrition label.... because all the rest is just advertising. :p

Shannon in ATL
01-18-2010, 12:11 PM
I was about to say what Mayness said. I saw that on the Barilla Plus & the Healthy Harvest as well. The nutrition chart on the side of the box shows the info for the predetermined 'portion' they are going for and the info for the standard serving. Definitely advertising.

01-20-2010, 06:56 AM
The Consumerist blog did a story on how portion sizes are determined. The USDA sets it based on the following:

1. Consideration of typical portion sizes from food consumption surveys.
2. Convenience in relation to common measuring sizes.
3. Nutrient content.
4. Sizes from previous guides.

There is some talk about changing the labeling to more accurately reflect what people actually eat. I tend to use general portion sizes for most everything I eat and weigh stuff. But I also have learned not to stress too much if I am a bit off.

01-20-2010, 04:18 PM
I think the portion is considered how much people actually eat. In that example I guess they figure people have 2 servings in one of portion. 2 oz of pasta is a lot less than you might think.

01-21-2010, 01:40 AM
It's all a scam! lol... Seriously though!

01-21-2010, 01:51 AM
I dont know about the healthy harvest, I know on the Barilla plus thing the portions where they are comparing protein etc. are 100g which is often a standard for comparing nutrient density. Not a great excuse, but a lot of nutrient comparison (in nutrition reports, dietician material etc.) is based on 100 g as a universal standard. Which is slightly less than 4 oz.

But the USDA has determined that pasta is a 2 oz serving.

It's like a bottle of juice may be 20 oz (the size of the can) or 2.5 8 oz servings

I like one of the beverages I saw recently that had nutrition info for both the std 8 oz serving and the full 20 oz bottle.

I remember my mom telling me once about these fantastic ravioli she got at costco and the whole bag was HUGE and only had 450 calories. So she made up the whole bag for the 2 of us and it was indeed enormous portion. 10 or 11 giant ravioli for 225 calories. Uh. I dont get stuffed to the gills on 225 calories.

My mom thought the serving size was 7 ravioli and the bag had 3 servings. The serving size was 3 ravioli and the bag had 7 servings. 1050 calories per bag.

3 ravioli was NOT a large serving.