180 Cheerios

Did you know there are 180 Honey Nut Cheerios in a ¾ of a cup?  Yes, I counted them being partially retired with little else of consequence to do at 7:00 am on a weekday morning.  Of course, that begs the additional question as to why you would want to know how many Cheerios are in a serving.  Well, when was the last time you ate only 180 Cheerios?  The box says that a serving contains 110 calories, without any milk that is so if you think you are having a 110-calorie breakfast make sure that you stick with the ¾ of a cup serving.  On the other hand, the serving size for regular Cheerios is 1 cup and the total calories are only 100.  In fact, the serving size for all but regular Cheerios is ¾ of a cup, which is only 75% of a cup.  Could it be that the higher calorie and sugar content of the more tasty Cheerios varieties has anything to do with the serving size?  Amazingly, it appears true that to lower your caloric intake you have to eat less.

Let’s explore sauerkraut, it is getting near summer after all and you probably want sauerkraut on a hot dog.  A mini 8 oz can contains eight servings.  Let me explain, an 8 oz can is 2 ½ inches in diameter and 3” high (have you considered all the useful facts you learn on Quinnscommentary?).  A serving size is two tablespoons, that’s not the table spoon you put on the table to serve up your mashed potatoes that’s a measuring table spoon which is considerably smaller.  That serving size contains 220 mg of sodium and since the can contains five servings that is close to half of the total daily intake of sodium that is recommend for healthy people.  However, who eats a hot dog or pork chops with two tablespoons of sauerkraut? Go to a restaurant and you get like half a can (that’s a 16 oz can) or more.

It appears that as the amount of the stuff bad for you in a product rises, the serving size gets smaller.  I mean, who would buy rice if the box said 2000 mg of sodium per serving. Prepared Mexican rice is a neat one.  The sodium content is 325 mg per serving and the serving size is ¼ of a cup (1/2 cup cooked).  Good news;  there is no fat so this stuff jumps off the shelf except perhaps if you are counting carbs in which case the ¼ of a cup contains 37.  I tried reading the other side of the box, which is in Spanish, but it appears you get the same result, assuming that Tamano por Racion means serving size. Call me crazy but the last time I had rice with a meal I think a normal serving size was about two cups, not that much when it is sitting beside the other food on your plate.  That of course is 2600 mg of sodium, which exceeds your total daily-recommended allowance by 200 mg.  Now if you think I am being a bit cynical look at a box of boil in the bag brown rice.  There is no sodium and guess what, for this rice the serving size is a whopping half cup, a cup cooked; still unrealistic but why does one rice have a serving size half of another?  Come on you know the answer.

Perhaps the toughest one to swallow (he said tongue in cheek) is popcorn.  Admittedly, I am a popcorn nut; I eat it several nights a week.  The suggested serving size for popcorn is 6 cups popped, but the nutritional breakdown on the jar of popcorn uses one cup popped.  On the other hand, does it really matter, as there is 0% of just about everything in the popcorn, sans butter of course?  Microwave popcorn uses a serving size of 3.5 cups perhaps because in the prepared stuff there is fat and sodium.  Now instead of the 5 grams of fat based on 3.5-cup serving, if you used the more realistic regular popping corn serving of 6 cups you would have about 9 grams of fat and not 200 mg of sodium but more like 350.

Arise American, demand a standard real life serving size and then decide what you want to eat.  On the other hand, that may mean that you will decide to take one bite of a fast food burger along with two fries.  On the up side, consider at all the fresh rice you can eat.