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Serving Sizes

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Paula Cutler, BS.

Examine the Nutrition Facts Labels

Nutrition Facts labels on packaged foods can help consumers make better food choices. A Nutrition Facts label lists the serving size of the food and the number of servings per container. In addition, the label reports the amounts of nutrients present in grams and as a percentage of Daily Values for a 2,000 calorie diet. According to the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Nutrition Facts label serving sizes are more or less based on amounts customarily eaten at one time, and do not necessarily correspond to serving sizes recommended by the Food Pyramid.

Serving Sizes on labels are reported in one of three ways. For bulk materials, such as cereals and flour, the labels use common household terms, such as cup, tablespoon, teaspoon or fluid ounce. For products that usually are divided into pieces, such as cake or pizza, the serving size is a fractional amount of the whole (for example, 1/4 pizza). Products that come as units, such as eggs, cookies or sliced products, are listed as the number of whole units that closely approximates a reference amount. For example, if a cookie has a reference amount of 30 grams, the serving size on a package of cookies that weigh about 30 grams each would list a serving size as “one cookie (30 grams).”

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Space Biomedical Research Institute

National Space Biomedical Research Institute

This work was supported by National Space Biomedical Research Institute through NASA cooperative agreement NCC 9-58.