Beware of serving sizes when reading nutrition labels for sugar, calories and carbs

I didn't plan to do an actual post for this, but I figured it would take me all of five minutes to go ahead and post this as just a reminder that if you are trying to look for healthy foods and you are paying attention to sugar or carbs (etc.) and trying to quickly compare items to purchase, be sure you are checking  for the "serving size" on the labels if you have two or three very similar but with very different numbers.

Yesterday was a great example how a company will sometimes change their serving size on the label, which can greatly change the nutritional information.

Yesterday I was going to 'splurge' and get a box of the Blueberry with Lemon Clusters cereal (9 grams sugar per serving) that can be mixed 50% with our regular 5 gram sugar Special K.  But when I had the box in my hand, I happened to see the same cereal box next to it on the shelf but it had a different shade of blue and different design - which is what caught my eye.

I glanced at the sugar grams on that box.

That one says 12 grams of sugar.
The first one said 9 grams of sugar.

"Are they the exact same cereal?" I asked myself.
"Is it just a new box design?"

I grabbed both boxes and laid them side by side.

Yes indeed.  The exact same cereal with absolutely zero difference.  So then I asked myself what they changed to warrant a jump from 9 grams of sugar per serving to 12?


Serving size.

Same cereal.  Just a different box design with the serving sizes changed.  I recalled hearing something about that in the news; how companies were being called out for putting not-realistic serving sizes of 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup on their labels in order to make their sugar, calorie, fat and carb grabs look more appealing on the front of the box.  Many cereals started to list a more realistic 1 cup portion (because really, who eats only 1/2 cup of dry cereal in a sitting?)

One box says a serving size is 3/4 cup and the box will have about 11 servings.
The other lists serving size of 1 cup and only 8 servings per container.

So - just a heads up - if a certain nutritional quality is important to you, be sure you are paying attention to labels and comparing a realistic size portion or you can greatly skew your numbers.  (Also, in the case of cereal at least; remember most people add milk of some sort to it so be sure to count the milk nutrients in your comparisons!)


You might also be interested in these related products available through Amazon;

Special K Breakfast Cereal Original, 12 oz

Kellogg's Special K Blueberry with Lemon Clusters and Fruit & Yogurt Variety Pack, (37.9 oz.)

 WholeMe, Lemon Berry Chia Grain-Free Clusters, 8 oz 

Print Friendly and PDF