Checking Servings per Container


About a decade ago I got the dumb idea that I could lose weight eating Ramen Noodles. You actually can lose weight eating Ramen Noodles, it’s just not a particular healthy way to do it. I found that one pack of noodles wasn’t filling me up, so I started eating two. I checked the back of the label and read that each serving of noodles contained 190 calories.

What I didn’t notice was that each package of Ramen Noodles actually contains two servings. Can you believe that? Any by eating two packs, I was really having four servings! No wonder that diet went horrible!


Since I would be losing all this weight eating noodles, I decided to go ahead and keep drinking Dr. Pepper. (Again this was many years ago, before my lapband surgery.) I decided to allot myself four 20oz Dr. Peppers a day. That sounds like a lot now but it didn’t seem like a lot then. I would get one on the way to my desk each morning, have one with lunch, one late in the afternoon, and one with dinner. Again I checked the label: only 100 calories! Again though, I was fooled by the serving size. Each 20oz bottle of soda actually contains 2 1/2 recommended servings. Instead of 100, each 20oz bottle of soda contains 250. In reality I was adding another 1,000 calories a day in just soda. This diet was terrible for losing weight but it sure tasted great!

Last week on our way home from Denver we stopped in a convenient store for gas and some snacks. I’ve really been trying to watch what I eat, so instead of picking up some potato chips or candy like I normally would, I picked up a package of nuts (cashews, to be exact). I glanced at the label and saw that the small package only contained 190 calories. “Not bad,” I thought to myself. When I got to the car and took a closer look I noticed that there were FOUR servings in that small container! It even said, “recommended serving size: 19 cashews.” Planters, you almost got me!

Don’t just check the calories on the side of your containers. Check how many serving sizes are contained inside that package as well. You might be surprised.

01. November 2014 by robohara
Categories: Diet, Food, General | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Can you really imagine buying that package of cashews and saying “This will be enough for 4 people.” I DO believe that companies should get real about their labeling, too, but I bet that never happens!

  2. Yeah, it can get even more complicated than that too. Only counting the calories (and servings) is one thing, but what kind of calories can make a difference too.

    100 calories of protein or vegetable fiber is one thing, 100 calories of sugar or straight up refined wheat is quite another and they are not equal. Flour products and sugar tend to get stored regardless of how many overall calories you are taking in over the course of a day while protein and veg fiber get broken down and burned immediately.

    When I was doing my weight loss full force I was eating a cup to a cup and a half of cereal each morning, looking to target about 120-200 calories. What’s crazy is that at first I didn’t discriminate between the types of cereals and just targeted a specific calorie count. What I found over time is that eating cereals with more sugar stalled my weight loss, even if it was the same calories as cereals with less.

    I learned to do some label math to pick out the better cereals, the ones that had 33% or less total fat and sugar. Basically, take the total grams of sugar per serving (not carbs, just the sugar), multiple by 4 (to get the sugar calories), then add that number to the “calories from fat”, multiply that total by 4 again and compare that final number to the total calories per serving. The closer the two numbers are to being equal, the better the cereal.

    Example: Say a serving of cereal has 130 calories (15 from fat) and 9 grams of sugar per serving. . Multiply by 9 by 4 (getting 36), add 36 to 15 (fat calories), and you get 51. Multiply this by 4 (204) and compare to the total calories (130). Since the total is way above it’s not great cereal. The total fat and sugar calories are close to 40%.

    Now take a cereal with 190 calories (15 from fat) and 9 grams of sugar per serving. . Multiply by 9 by 4 (getting 36), add 36 to 15 (fat calories), and you get 51. Multiply this by 4 (204) and compare to the total calories (190), and even though it’s still over and the total calories for that cereal is higher, the amount of sugar and fat is way down.

    I found if I ate a serving of that second cereal I would lose faster (again, even though the calories were higher.)

    Bottom line, those labels are deceiving…

  3. Also, egads, totally didn’t mean to write a book in that comment 😉

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