Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What counts as a serving of food?

Serving Sizes on Food Packages
food label
Publications International, Ltd.
The serving size listed on nutrition labels aren't necessarily the standard serving sizes.

The serving size listed on the food package is not necessarily the same as the standard serving size. Most packaged foods have to carry a Nutrition Facts label, listing a typical serving size. But this typical serving size may not match the government's standard serving sizes - and it may not be the same as the amount you eat or your portion size. Sometimes the serving sizes on labels are not very realistic. You may want to print the chart of standard serving sizes and post it on your refrigerator. Then you can compare it against your food labels for a realistic idea of how much you're eating.

Here's what you need to remember about the serving sizes on food packages: All the nutrition information on the label, such as the amount of fat in the food, is based on the serving size listed on the label. Let's say the label claims that 1 serving is equal to 1 cup and that 1 serving contains 3 grams of fat. If you eat 2 cups, you've eaten 2 servings and 6 grams of fat. This doesn't mean you shouldn't have 2 servings; it just means that you need to take both servings into account. You need to understand that you ate 6 grams of fat rather than 3 grams. This way, you can plan the rest of your meals accordingly and not go over the amount of fat you should eat in a day.