Understanding the FDA Food Label: The Serving Size
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to pay attention to serving sizes. You don’t have to take the time to count every calorie, but portion control is essential. One of the best ways to become more familiar with serving sizes is to read the FDA's Nutrition Facts Label. These food labels include detailed information on serving sizes as well as important nutritional information.
The serving size is located at the top of the FDA food label. It not only tells you the amount of a single serving, but it will tell you how many servings are in the container. For example, the label on a can of pears may note that the serving size is ½ cup and that the can contains three servings.
Serving Size vs. Portion Size
The serving size of a food is the amount of food that is listed as a single serving on the FDA food label. However, a portion size is the actual amount that you eat of that food. While the serving size of canned pears is a ½ cup, if you eat the entire can, your portion size is actually 1 ½ cups, which is three times the serving size.
Why is it important to understand the difference? It’s easy to eat larger portions than you should. Most people pile food on their plate or eat foods right out of a container without ever looking at the serving size to see how much they should be eating. If you want to lose weight, you need to start paying attention to the serving size of foods.
Consuming just a single serving size of foods can offer significant weight loss results. Instead of dumping the whole can of pears into a bowl, take the time to look at the FDA food label. The serving size information lets you know that you should measure out the ½-cup serving. As you start paying attention to serving sizes, losing weight becomes much easier, and you don’t even need to worry about counting calories.
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