Do you know the difference between “portion size” and “serving size? Is there even a difference? Most people cannot distinguish between these two serving recommendations. A survey of 1,000 adults found that :
- Nine in 10 Americans say they have at least some understanding of serving size and portion size.
- The two terms are often mixed up:
- while nearly half (48%) can correctly define serving size, the same percentage incorrectly associates the definition for portion size with that of serving size.
In reality, “portion size” is defined as how much a person chooses to eat or drink, while “serving size” is based on a standardized amount of food or drink which is established by research done on the eating habits of adults and children. By definition, portion size is more individualized than serving size. Utilizing a recommended “serving size” of food could mean that you are overeating based off your own individual needs.
Why is this distinction important? Although serving sizes are not recommendations for how much to eat, many use them for this purpose. Around half of the respondents said they try to eat close to the serving size listed on the packaging without knowing the true definition of a serving size. Additionally, most people said, when looking for information on “portion size” they look to the “serving size” on the packaging.
Understanding the difference between portion size and serving size can:
- Help better manage your diet.
- Assist in more mindful eating practices.
- Aid in making more informed choices about the amount of food you eat during a meal.
While it’s helpful to know what the recommended serving size is for a food, try using that knowledge to first check in with yourself and your hunger level so you can serve the right portion size for you!