Serving sizes on nutrition labels

on 5/12/19 9:37 pm
VSG on 06/11/18

Serving sizes have been the subject of humour since the first nutrition labels appeared. How do food manufacturers determine serving sizes? It's certainly not based on what the typical "normal" (non-WLS) person eats. Just today I was watching a YouTube video where a normal person with a healthy BMI tried to follow the serving sizes on food labels for a day, and she was laughing at how small they were. But I think I've finally figured out the science behind it!

When I eat a new food for the first time, I don't know how filling it will be. Some foods are way more filling than you expect, and I don't want to prepare too much. I find the serving size is a useful guide. Sometimes I'm full on a little less, so I adjust it down the next time. Only rarely do I need to eat more.

So I figure somewhere in a lab there's a woman who has recently had WLS and is trying to stay below 800 calories per day. Food manufacturers give her a spoonful of food at a time, and once she's full, they say "right, that's going on the label as a typical 'serving size'".

Kathy S.
on 5/13/19 12:06 pm - InTheBurbs, XX
RNY on 08/29/04 with

Didn't I read somewhere there was a class action law suit because the company fudged so bad on the serving size? I need to go google We can only do the best we can.

HW:330 - GW:150 - MW:118-125

RW:190 - CW:130

White Dove
on 5/13/19 12:06 pm

I have a friend who always follows the serving sizes when she prepares meals for her children and they are all slim, except the husband who goes and buys himself more food after eating with the family.

Real life begins where your comfort zone ends

on 5/14/19 7:09 am, edited 5/14/19 12:10 am
RNY on 10/17/17

Yup, I think you are right. I used to think, 1/2 cup ice cream??? Who eats just 1/2 cup??? Not me back pre-surgery. Now, 1/2 cup or 59 grams (I weigh) works great!!! Of course, if the mfg actually made public the realistic stats for a realistic serving of some foods for the average, haven't had WLS folks, there might be a drastic increase heart attack related deaths.

Surgeon: Dr. David Carroll Surgery Date: 3/17/2017 Hospital: Merritt Health River Oaks Hospital

Height: 5'2" HW: 331 lbs SW: 279 lbs GW: 130 (originally, I changed to 140) CW: 130 to 135 ish

Biggest Goal: To Be Healthy in everything I do!!! To make healthy choices always!!! To just embrace HEALTH each and every day for the rest of my Life!!!

Janet P.
on 5/14/19 12:29 pm

The only thing I still weigh is pasta!

Janet in Leesburg
DS 2/25/03
Hazem Elariny

on 5/15/19 6:25 pm

So the serving sizes don't work for you? They didn't work for me either Wombat, but they do now. 18 M7M chocolate mints is plenty for me. 1/2 cup of Ice Cream? I used to laugh at those serving sizes too, but now they are my guide in a big way. My hunch is that the reason for the variance has such discrepancy is to make the other micronutrients look good against the USDA guidelines. We had a lady in our clinic the other day talking about how "healthy" she had eaten when she ordered the Chicken Breast meal (I forget which variance right now) when she ate at Applebee's the night before. "It only had 360 calories." she claimed. "that's great, but it also had over 4000 mgs of sodium, nearly twice the total amount for an entire day." By the way, that is totally the norm when it comes to chicken prepared in restaurants. Steaks or fish are almost always healthier than chicken in restaurants.

It's easy to laugh at the labels but until you get serious about those labels, nothing good is going to happen long term.

on 5/15/19 10:18 pm
VSG on 06/11/18

The serving sizes do work quite well for me now, that's the point. I just find it funny that those serving sizes are suitable for someone who eats as little as I do now.

on 5/15/19 10:28 pm

We have several people in our clinic who don't actually track and measure their intake "because they can eyeball it". When I hear that I laugh because I quickly learned that 3/4 cup of Raisin Bran isn't nearly as much as I thought it was. For that matter neither is 1 cup of milk. I don't eyeball anything, I measure everything, and that has been key for losing the weight that I have lost. I also use as a food and exercise diary. I don't know how you can possibly lose weight without these tools. It's great to hear of your success, keep at it.

H.A.L.A B.
on 5/16/19 6:43 am

Few years post op, and I still have great restriction. But most meat RTE dishes are a joke for me. I.e Hormel type peeped meat, just some sauce, not other items added. Serving size 5oz. It's a joke. The beef tips in gravy, toss the gravy and I can have 2 small servings. Not 3.5 servings. And for dinner, when my pouch gets "bigger," I can get that in almost as one serving. I would have some left overs if I consider the fat on thatm to be eatable. Or serving of sauce as meal. Not.

But often the "junk items" that I am not used to, off. 1 serving is too much (i.e Tera's chips with avocado mash, I get a few and I am done)

Hala. RNY 5/14/2008; Happy At Goal =HAG

"I can eat or do anything I want to - as long as I am willing to deal with the consequences"

"Failure is not falling down, It is not getting up once you fell... So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again...."

on 5/18/19 5:28 am
VSG on 08/14/14

After five years post-op, some things I can "eyeball" correctly -- and they're all low-calorie, low-carb foods like green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce.

And then there's cheese -- I swear, if I didn't still weigh it every time I have some I'd be "eyeballing" half a pound of cheese and talking myself into believing it was one ounce.


ANN 5'5" AGE 73 HW: 235.6 (BMI 39.2) SW: 216 GW: 150 CW: 134.0

WEIGHT LOSS: Pre-op: -20 M1: -10 M2: -11 M3: -10 M4: -10 M5: -7 M6: -5 M7: -6 M8: -4 M9: -4
NEXT 10 MOS. -12 TOTAL: 100+ LBS.

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