Serving Size Versus Portion Size: The Difference

A key part of mindful eating is consuming appropriate amounts of different food products. When it comes to deciding on the average amount to eat of a certain food product, the terms serving size and portion size are mostly used interchangeably. Did you know that the serving size of a food product is oftentimes not the same as the portion size? In this short article, we will break it down for you.

A little introduction on growing portion sizes

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether the portions we eat nowadays are the right serving size for our actual nutritional needs. Portion sizes have increased drastically over the years, contributing to the rising obesity rate. In addition, of high-caloric or high-sugar food products, manufactures decrease the serving size of their product so it looks like the food product is not unhealthy at all. Once you actually start measuring this amount, you will notice how small the actual serving size is compared to what you would normally take of this product. Good examples of this are chips and breakfast cereals. I challenge you to measure it yourself!

The difference between a serving size and a portion size

A portion size is how much food you choose to eat at one time, from anywhere you are. Many food packagings that present themselves as a single portion actually contain multiple servings. This way, the industry stimulates overeating and you probably don’t even realize it.

The serving size is the amount of food that is listed on a Nutrition Facts Label. All of the nutritional values you find on a label, are similar to the serving size that the manufacturer has decided to give their product.

To illustrate this: a serving size could be 25 grams of nuts, but you eat 50 grams. The latter then becomes the portion size, the size which is 100% under your own control.

How can I apply this information on my mindful health journey?

Once you start to understand the difference, it becomes easier to be more mindful of how much a serving size actually is and therefore to determine your portion size. Being conscious of how much you put on your plate or in your mouth can actually help control how much you eat.

Therefore, always check the back of a food label and don’t get fooled by the food industry!

Do you know how much you are really eating?