The difference between “portion size” and “portion size” (and why it’s important)



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Have you ever enjoyed an Oreos sleeve when someone decides to intervene with the fact that, in reality, a serving size is only three cookies? We hear about “portion size”, “portions” and often “portion control” all the time, but what do they do? in reality to mean? Is there a significant difference, or do they all end up making you feel weird about how many cookies you just ate?

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. A new one consumer survey* of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) reports that while almost half (48%) of the participants defined it correctly “portion size, ” this same percentage “incorrectly associates the portion size definition with the portion size definition.” Here’s the difference between serving size and serving size, and what it means for your health goals.

Portion Sizes – What’s on the Label

Portion sizes are the standardized amount of food you see at the top of nutrition data labels. A packet of food can (and often does) contain several servings, and one serving size doesn’t tell you how much you should eat at once. In fact, the The FDA states this explicitly “By law, portion sizes should be based on how much food people normally eat, rather than how much they eat. it should consume”.

In 2016, the FDA made changes to many nutrition data labels so that when people look at the calories and nutrients on the label, the portion size more closely matches what they are consuming. For example, the size of the ice cream portion had long been indicated at half a cup, but now it is two-thirds of a much more realistic cup. But does that mean two-thirds of a cup of ice cream is? how much are you “it should“be eating? Not exactly.

Portion Size: How much you actually eat

A portion size is simply the amount of food you eat at a time. How much you eat depends on your personal preferences and dietary needs:it’s not what the food label says.

Some reasons why you may want to understand the size of your portions include meeting your nutritional requirements, avoiding food waste, and feeling comfortable when you eat.

Why it matters

The IFIC survey found this Although portion sizes are not designed to be recommendations for how much food to eat, many consumers still use them for this purpose. Equally, Dr. Ali Webster says in Health line that “it seems like a lot of people have internalized this information as a recommendation of how much food to eat when it’s not necessarily so.”

It’s true that understanding portion sizes helps you understand food labels, so you can get a more accurate idea of ​​the nutritional composition of your food based on how many servings you eat. Your portions, however, can be much larger or smaller than the portion size for a variety of reasons.

Here’s a way the difference between portion size and portion size might come into play: a grape size is half a cup (about 16 grapes). However, if you take about two handfuls, the size of your serving may be a full cup, two servings. Knowing the size of your personal portion would be necessary to count calories, track macros, or tell your doctor how much fruit you normally get from your diet.

The bottom line

While the serving size of something will be the same for anyone looking at the nutrition label, serving size depends on your body and your needs. Use portion sizes to understand the nutritional facts of foods. Then the portion size should be dictated by personal factors such as hunger signals and health goals. To sum up: Portion sizes are mass produced; portion sizes are individual.

* The poll uses data from interviews with 1,000 adults, aged 18 and over, conducted in November 2021 and published in January 2022.



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