Ever Eat a Half-Cup of Ice Cream? Now FDA Forcing Food Makers to Calculate Actual Serving Sizes for Calorie Counts

I don't know about you but I can't remember ever eating a half-cup of ice cream. Yet that's what manufacturers have listed on their ingredients list as the serving size for the calorie count.

Now that's going away.  Labels will soon have to reflect actual serving sizes, according to Sabrina Tavernise, "putting calorie counts in large type and adjusting portion sizes to reflect how much Americans actually eat."

Unless you're eating at a fancy restaurant, the size of a bowl of ice cream is usually about two cups these days.

But the Food and Drug Administration has finally recognized just how ridiculous the serving sizes are when calculating calories and is now proposing changes.

“It’s an amazing transformation,” Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of the F.D.A., tells Tarvernise. “Things like the size of a muffin have changed so dramatically. It is important that the information on the nutrition fact labels reflect the realities in the world today.”

The proposed changes include what experts say will be a particularly controversial item: a separate line for sugars that are manufactured and added to food, substances that many public health experts say have contributed substantially to the obesity problem in this country. The food industry has argued against similar suggestions in the past.

“The changes put added sugars clearly in the cross hairs,” Tavernise quotes Dr. David A. Kessler, who was commissioner during the original push for labels in the 1990s. “America has the sweetest diet in the world. You can’t get to be as big as we’ve gotten without added sweeteners.” 

Millions of Americans pay attention to food labels (Weight Watchers now even sells special devices to figure out not just how many calories are in a normal serving of something but how much of that is fat and protein). Tarvernise writes that the changes are meant to make labels easier to understand — "a critical step in an era when more than one-third of adults are obese, public health experts say. The epidemic has caused rates of diabetes to soar, and has increased risks forcancer, heart disease and stroke."


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