Here’s a Handy Way to Understand Healthy Serving Sizes

Serving Sizes of Common Foods

ELIZABETH LASETER | Cooking Light

Decoding serving sizes can be downright confusing—so we’ve devised a clever way to help you keep portion sizes in check.

If you’re buying a box of pasta or popcorn, you’ve probably scanned the nutrition facts to ensure you’re making a healthy choice. Likely, you also consider the serving size of the food, the amount that determines the calories, fat, sodium, and more per serving.

Like many of us, you probably assume that serving size is directly tied to portion control—and that as long as you consume this amount, you can maintain a healthy weight while reaping the full health benefits of the food.

Unfortunately, this isn’t quite the full story. In fact, the serving size on a food label is determined by the manufacturer—and not the USDA, who determines the current dietary guidelines for Americans. However, under the FDA’s current labeling laws for nutrition facts, this isn’t actually misleading. The FDA states, “By law, serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating.”

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