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The Scoop on Soup Serving Sizes & Misleading Labels!
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The Scoop on Soup Serving Sizes & Misleading Labels!

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02.16.11
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Dear HG,

I love canned soup. I do NOT, however, like when the "servings per container" amount comes to "about 2." If I want to eat the entire can as a full meal, what's the best way to account for it? Do I count two full servings? Do I grab my measuring cups and find the exact amount? Thanks so much!

In-the-Soup Shannon

Hi Shannon,

I'm with you. I pretty much never look at the nutritional label on a standard soup can without automatically doubling the amounts in my head. As for the exact amount in the can, the average 1-cup serving of canned soup weighs in at about 8.5 ounces. So those 14.5-oz. and 15-oz. cans actually have closer to 1 3/4 cups each. But to make things easy, I'd just double the per-serving stats and know I'm accounting for a little extra. There are larger cans -- 18 to 19 oz. -- that list "about 2 servings" too. Those typically contain just barely more than two 1-cup servings -- I wouldn't worry about the extra few calories. If you really want to be exact about it, divide the total weight in grams (typically on the front on the can) by the grams per serving (usually in parentheses after the serving size on the nutritional panel) -- then multiply all the stats accordingly. While we're on the subject, my favorite soup of all time is Amy's Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque, and an entire can of it has exactly 218 calories and 5.9g fat (PointsPlus® value 5*). Since I eat that one CONSTANTLY, I figured it was worth calculating. By the way, if you're looking for ways to bulk up your soup and make it more meal-like, add cooked veggies and/or lean protein -- spinach, shrimp, broccoli, mushrooms, soy crumbles, skinless chicken breast, etc. SOOO GOOD!

Hi Hungry Girl,

I have a question about packaged foods with the Weight Watchers POINTS® values on them. Why is it that the package will have a value on it, but when I put the required info into the Weight Watchers calculator, it gives me a higher value? I'm starting to not believe the packaging. Thanks in advance.

Confused Connie

Hi Connie,

This is a really good question and one I'm being asked VERY often lately. Unfortunately, there are still A LOT of products on shelves that display the values according to the old WW system of POINTS®, not the new PointsPlus® value system. The current system uses a completely different calculation to determine a food's value, which is why the numbers you're getting from the calculator are higher. Bottom line? And this is super-important, so I'm going to put in it bold: If the food package displays a value with the word POINTS® as opposed to PointsPlus®, that number is most likely inaccurate under the new system. So if you are purchasing snack cakes, frozen meals, refrigerated meals, etc., that feature a POINTS® value, you need to enter the stats into a PointsPlus® calculator to get the true and current value. It's frustrating, I know, and I really hope that new packaging will replace all the outdated material VERY soon. On the upside, you can find a lot of the new values by clicking around the Marketplace section of the Double W's website. If you have pals on Weight Watchers who purchase packaged foods, you might want to pass along this email to keep them in the know. Some people don't even realize the values are different, and it could be hindering their weight loss. Thanks for your email, Connie -- hope I cleared up the confusion!

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*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

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