Serving Size vs. Value Guide

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The trademark Heart Hand gesture is called the HeartMark! May you take the time to HeartMark and think about what goes into your body today!

The “serving size” on food labels is misnamed. It is time to change the name. It should be called: “Value Guide.”

Currently, the serving size implies that people should eat the amount of the serving. This amount makes no sense to people. It is completely determined by the product’s desire to appear safe compared to similar products. It lets the product pretend that it is low in salt or sugar or fat for the smaller serving size. This type of trick makes it more difficult for consumers to determine the actual amount of certain ingredients in the food they are eating.

People often eat more than the serving size. If they don’t, then they stay hungry. Either way, they feel guilty, which they shouldn’t. Labels on food should not confuse people. Labels need to reflect exactly the value that the food offers.

In other countries, the food label lists the information based on 100grams. Sometimes, it’s called “value amount.” Sometimes, the label offers the value amount at 100 grams and at 300 grams. And I bet in Europe, where labels are like this, people know about how much 100grams are. It would not be that difficult to teach students in America the measurement amount that will be on the food label in the US.

People need to determine the food’s quality for their body in an empirical way that has nothing to do with how much they eat. If the food is of high quality, then it will give them a lot of nutrition for very little bad stuff, like salt, sugar, and even fat. The nutritional elements in the food are the protein, calcium, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals. If the food lists the essential oils, all the better for us consumers! If the food gives us even more information, like the quantity of the bad ingredients like the artificial colors and preservatives, I’d be even happier.

How to choose the food is a personal choice of course that people need to make depending on their body’s needs. Some people may have more strict dietary guidelines than others. Others may just have different hunger levels. You wouldn’t expect to eat a tiny serving if you were starving. You wouldn’t expect to eat a lot of the food if it had a lot of salt. If you are tall and active, you would need a very different amount than if you were petite and sedentary. For these reasons, the name “serving suggestion” or “serving size” is just plain misleading on the label.

People need to use the information on the label as a guide to learn the value that they can get from the food. If all measurements are exactly the same, like in Europe, than people will be able to compare exactly the amount of value vs. the junk that each food gives them.

In America, the food industry competes for your dollars by lobbying Congress. The food industry is very good at having its voice heard. Every decision on a food label affects how much they earn. Now it is up to consumers to write to their representatives. If US manufacturers want to compete in a free market, let them make the food healthier. America is ready for it.

We should control the food that’s being sold to us, not the other way around. I am tired of food manufacturers making their serving suggestion smaller and smaller so that they can put more junk in the food and still be within the range of …filth that similar products carry. And people wonder why there is a rise in obesity.

I HeartMark You!


nutritional label, serving suggestions, serving size, beans can, European food label system

Notice that you can compare the nutritional value for 100 grams and for 300 grams in this can of beans sold in Spain

food label of soup nuts

Notice this "nutritional information" is translated to "nutritional value" in French on these Israeli soup nuts

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