Serving is No Longer a Useful Term, Especially For Snack “Foods”

One of the classic deceptions of the snack food industry is to pretend that a small package contains enough to feed two or more people. This small bag of Fritos has only 160 calories per serving, but it is supposed to feed 4 1/2 people. Only 160 is printed in bold, whereas you’d have to do the math yourself to figure out that your snack bag has 720 calories in it. And even beverages, say a bottle of chocolate milk, can be tricky. One serving can be an 8, 12 or 14 Oz bottle with 150-250 calories

Perhaps you could make the argument about meat and potatoes that there is such a thing as a “normal” or “average” serving. Even that is arguable, since that can vary according to a person’s activity level: Proverbial lumberjacks and teenage boys often eat larger portions than sedentary elderly individuals, for example.

But most snacks are, let’s be honest here, not really food and not really part of a healthy diet. So why should we pretend that there is agreement of how much we “should” or “might” eat of them?

Suggesting that most people can stop at a fraction of what’s in the bag is playing dirty. Wasn’t there a slogan that went “nobody can eat just one”?

(Disclosure: I, too, sometimes eat Fritos, and then usually more than one “serving”.)

1 Response to “Serving is No Longer a Useful Term, Especially For Snack “Foods””


  1. 1 John R. Dykers, Jr. MD June 6, 2021 at 9:58 am

    “Pleasure Per Calorie” readily available on Amazon Kindle and Paperback.


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