Reading food labels is an effective way to determine the right food to buy during your grocery shopping. If you have always wanted to read Nutrition Facts on the food label, but have no clue what to read and where to start, no worry. Today, I am going to share with you one of the key information you should pay attention first.
Almost all food product has these jargons, “Serving Size” and “Per Serving” information. Before explaining further, do not be confused by this “Serving Size” term used in Food Pyramid and Nutrition Labels. In this article, I just focus in per serving information on food label, I mean serving size of saturated fat, sodium, fat, fiber, cholesterol and others on food label.
At the top of each food label, you will see the amount for serving size. It is determined by the food manufacturer and it is based on the amount that people generally eat. All other information about the nutritional value of that food is then listed according to that serving size.
For example, if a serving size is 1 cracker and 1 serving has 20 calories and if you eat all the 4 crackers in the package, you will consume 4 servings and total of 80 calories.
As for the example below, 1 cup is the single serving. If the package is meant for 2 cups and if you consume the entire package, you have consumed 2 cups. You just need to multiply the calories per serving by 2 to get the total calories.
Other serving size commonly used are 1 cup or 1 tablespoon for sugar or salt. For cake or pie, serving size can be defined in fraction of the entire product like 1/6 pizza. Other per serving can be mentioned in weight like 10 gram or 30 gram.
Because it is up to the manufacturer to decide, much serving size is defined loosely. Many intentionally make their food serving sizes small to make the food is healthier than it really is. So, as consumer, you need to find out the total servings in the package and multiply calories or fat amount each serving to find the total nutritional values.
In Europe, it is more common to have nutrition values based on 100 grams or 100 milliliter. In this case, the serving size is standardized to 100g or 100ml. So, if the entire package is 200g, you still need to do your own maths to calculate the total nutrition value.
In conclusion, always look at how many servings are in a bag, box or can of food before you look at the rest of the numbers. Hopefully, by learning this serving size will give you a better idea what to buy in your next grocery shopping.
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