Thursday, February 11, 2010

Portion Size

Several newspapers have commented on the FDA efforts to improve nutrition labeling by making food portion sizes more realistic; for example, in the New York Times, One Bowl = 2 Servings. F.D.A. May Fix That. Anyone who reads food labels has occasionally been outraged by small bags of potato chips that contain "1.5 servings," or by a microwaveable bowl of soup with a one-time removable top with "2 servings." (What do you do, take it to work, eat half, and then ask around if anyone would like the second serving?) Or our joke about the mint girl scout cookie boxes that should be labeled "contains two single-serving packs."

Quaker Oatmeal, one of the oldest and most reliable food boxes, has ALWAYS (I mean all my lifetime) had a table of servings beginning with 1 serving equals 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 cup water, and 1 dash salt, optional; the calorie count in the federally mandated information-box is 1/2 cup, 150 calories. My newest box -- same old cylinder with the Quaker's picture on the logo -- includes the same table of measured amounts, but with a new column in red:
3/4 cup oatmeal
1-1/2 cups water
dash of salt
Never mind the noble pretense -- Quaker Oats is supersizing!


~~louise~~ said...

I just had to run to the kitchen to see what my box of Quaker "said" and sure enough, Quaker Oats is supersizing!!! Thanks for pointing it out Mae. Just goes to show you I suppose, you can never get quite comfortable with labels:)

Cindy said...

Oh my goodness! I just checked the Kroger brand I buy and they still consider a serving to be 1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal. I guess Quaker wants people to buy more oatmeal -- that would be 3 1/2 cups more a week and a cylinder would therefore empty faster.