Dear FDA, I eat 2-3 “servings” of cereal. Can you help?

What I poured for my bowl of cereal. Looks reasonable, right?

And I know my male friends eat 3-5 servings of everything.

It sure is hard to count calories or keep track of healthy food consumption when you have to do algebra to figure out how much you actually ate.

Last night, I poured myself an average bowl of cereal. When I looked and saw that a serving is 110 calories, I thought, “Alright! Not a bad snack, Cari.” And then I measured out my bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and I had actually poured almost exactly 2 servings.

That’s actually 220 calories. Plus organic whole milk? Uh oh. I’m up to 370 calories already.

I do have good news, though. The FDA is considering changing the serving size on nutrition labels to reflect the amount people really eat.

They’re hoping that the new numbers make people realize just how much they’re really eating. Maybe that’ll scare people away from gorging themselves on bad foods.

What do you think?

THIS is one serving size. You can see the bottom of the bowl through the Os. Would that fill you up?

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  1. I have this book called “In defense of Food” by Michael Pollan, I started reading it before the Christmas break only got a quarter through and completely forgot about it after I got back. Your post reminded me of it and I will have to finish it now.

    The first chapter of the book explores the history of the “Nutritionism”, i.e. the history of the FDA’s changing dietary recommendations, food label requirements and such. It was quite eye opening and I’m looking forward to finishing the book now, thanks for reminding me.

    I think it may be the kind of book you enjoy reading. Let me know if you want to borrow it. Here’s a link to the book on amazon: and here’s a link to the introduction of the book: (.pdf)

  2. I understand your frustration. There is (almost..) nothing worse than eating a chocolate bar you *think* contains 200 calories, just to realize that a serving is actually “1/3 of the chocolate bar.” I mean really, who eats a third of a chocolate bar and leaves the rest for another time?

    Anyway, in Denmark they have a universal standard on nutrition labels that all nutritional facts are based on the content of 100 grams of that item.
    It doesn’t take the math out of eating, but at least it is a little more consistent than “half of a cookie” or “10 cheezits” as a serving.

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