Portion Distortion: Do You Just Eat Too Much?

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The serving sizes listed on food labels can be maddening, especially for those of us who count carbs. Traditionally, these serving sizes have been much smaller than the amounts we typically consume, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has implemented changes to the Nutrition Facts label to make serving sizes more representative of how much we are likely to consume in one sitting. Despite this effort to make the labels more intuitive and accurate, they still come in grams, ounces, milliliters, pieces—all kinds of hard-to-gauge measurements. Sometimes, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

To add to the confusion, Nutrition Facts labels do not necessarily correspond with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) portion sizes. It’s hard to know how many servings of grains, fruits, veggies, and meat you are getting each day. The following visual cues should help you guesstimate portions for some of the foods on your plate and in your pantry.

Note: The following recommendations are based on a 2,000-calorie daily nutritional intake.