How is the serving size on a food label determined?

How is the serving size on a food label determined?

Serving sizes are based on common food portions in the late 70’s and 80’s.

The Serving Size on a food label is based on the amount of that particular food a person generally eats at one time.


A person generally eats 30 grams of cookies at one time.
Therefore, a box of cookies has a serving size of 30 grams (or as close as possible).

Note: Depending on the size and weight of each cookie, 30 grams may be 1,2,3,4, or more cookies. This is up to the manufacturer to determine.

Who determines the amount we generally eat?

These amounts have been determined from nationwide food consumption surveys conducted in 1977-1978 and 1987-1988.

From the results of these surveys, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has created a list of products and the amount a person generally eats. Manufacturers are required to make the serving size of their food product as close as possible to that amount.

Similar products have similar serving sizes which makes it easy to compare the nutrition facts. For example, you can easily compare 2 boxes of cookies to see which has the fewest number of calories or grams of fat per serving.

Source: FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

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