How big are your portions?

Skimming across a website that specifically caters to a female audience (I was googling exactly when the Gilmore Girls premiered on Netflix- hugely important information), I came across a fairly pissy ‘infograph’.

I see the objective- Kellogg's, the leading cereal breakfast company wants to lend itself to total transparency- but once again they have flat-out fooled the consumer.

Here’s a snapshot:


Admittedly even I was momentarily led astray, thinking that was a pretty good outcome. And then I thought, ‘Hang on. What do they consider a portion size, and why hasn’t this information been published on the graph?’

Further googling led me to see that Kellogg’s considers their portion size to be between 30g (for cereals such as Coco Pops) to 40g (for cereals such as Special K). Though isn’t breakfast supposed to be the most important meal of the day? Isn’t the saying, ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’?

I am highly doubtful that those portion sizes would sustain an adult human till lunchtime. And maybe I’m naïve (or just really like a big brekky), but I wager that the average Australian adult would also be tucking into a larger portion size at breakfast time. The Telegraph agrees with me.

In the article, ’Finding the perfect portion size- The serving sizes on breakfast cereals might appear paltry to most adults, so will they really fill you up?’ journalist Bee Wilson questioned the dubious portion sizes on breakfast cereal packets.

She comments: "The serving sizes on breakfast cereals can also resemble fantasy more than truth. Kellogg's Raisin Wheats claims that a portion is 40g, but this would hardly dent the appetite of my teenage boy (who admittedly is 6ft 7in). When you pour 40g into a cereal bowl, it looks paltry; maybe I should get smaller bowls. Yet 40g is generous compared with the 20g of Rice Krispies and 17g of Corn Flakes from the individual boxes of a Kellogg's variety pack.”

Because granola is denser, the portion size is generally a little higher across the board. Take Dorset Cereals for instance, who Wilson notes the portion sizes are 75g.

"We just asked 50 people to pour out what they thought was a normal amount," explains Mandy Cooper of Dorset Cereals. The quantities were then averaged out. "You don't want something where at 11 o'clock you think, 'Crikey! I need a muffin".'

Indeed you don’t, though we wager to say even if you were eating 200g of a breakfast cereal, and it contained sugar, you’d still be reaching for that muffin at 11am.

Eat for Health states that the average Australian should be consuming between 4-6 serves of grains every day. A single serve looks like:

  • 1 slice (40g) bread
  • ½ medium (40g) roll or flat bread
  • ½ cup (75-120g) cooked rice, pasta, noodles, barley, buckwheat, semolina, polenta, bulgur or quinoa
  • ½ cup (120g) cooked porridge
  • ²/³ cup (30g) wheat cereal flakes
  • ¼ cup (30g) muesli
  • 3 (35g) crispbreads
  • 1 (60g) crumpet
  • 1 small (35g) English muffin or scone

Mabel & Joy retail in 480g bags, and we recommend the average serve to be 100g. And this is because we don’t make any bones about how much we pour into our bowls. It’s roughly a cup.

So for Kellogg's to say a couple of teaspoons of sugar or less are contained within one portion, well we feel that's leading the consumer astray.

Next time you pour your Mabel into your breakfast bowl, take note of your size and don’t fool yourself into thinking that it’s 30g. Because if it is, it would likely be close to invisible.

By the way, Gilmore Girls prem's at 7pm NSW time on Netflix. #Teamjess