Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ridiculous Serving Sizes - Costco Edition

For the next few weeks I'm going to take some time off from blogging - but don't you fret, I've curated a collection of some of my favourite posts from 2010. Today's post is the consequence of mixing one registered dietitian with one mille-feuille pastry.

And unlike what you might expect, today I mean small.

Thanks to our wonderful dietitian Joanne Kurtz I now know how many pieces to cut a Costco mille-feuille (Napoleon) pastry if I wanted to adhere to their nutrition facts panel's serving information.

Apparently the answer's 34.

Now I realize that the math involved in calculating calories in more realistic servings isn't all the difficult, but that's certainly not something the average consumer's ever going to spend time doing even if they do bother to read the label.

A wonderful example of why Canada's practice of allowing corporations to publish completely arbitrary serving sizes is an unfortunate one.

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  1. Anonymous10:44 am

    Ha! I got a kick out of this post. I assume that serving sizes even when unrealistic are at least generally standardized but this example has to be an exception. There is no way that 20g is anything like a standard serving size for a slice of cake. Nor, as you point out, would anyone have a clue what dimensions would amount to 20g unless they had a food scale. My earliest awareness of misleading labeling came when I happened to notice that a normal size muffin was actually called 2 servings by the manufacturer (ie that a "serving" was only half of a muffin). Since then I have always been very careful to check the serving size that the nutritional values correspond to.

  2. I always ignore those. The information on a bag of chips is for 14 chips. I don't always eat potato chips. As a matter of fact, I eat them almost exclusively on long car trips. But when I do eat them, no way does one stop at 14.

  3. Heh... I've had the exact opposite experience with my favorite brand of yogurt. Once I was thinking about getting a sweetened version and I wanted to check how much sugar was in it. So I checked the label and I'm like, 20 carbs, that's a lot... wait, 175 grams? That's over a quarter of the tub! I never eat that much!

    A rare reversal. Of course, anyone who reads labels knows that 20 grams of something like a napoleon is absurd...