Fact Check

Center Holes in Spaghetti Spoons Meant for Measuring Serving Sizes?

Just as spoon design varies, so do serving sizes for spaghetti noodles.

Published Jan 20, 2024

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Claim:
The center hole in a spaghetti spoon is designed to measure a serving size.
Context

While some spaghetti spoons are indeed specifically designed with holes for measuring portion size, this is not universally true. The holes in spaghetti spoons tend to vary in size and aren't necessarily intended to serve any purpose other than draining water.

In June 2016, Imgur user PolarChi posted to the platform that “the hole in your spaghetti spoon holds the recommended portion for one serving size of spaghetti.”

Did you know, that the hole in your spaghetti spoon holds the recommended portion for one serving size of spaghetti.

The seemingly simple hack went viral shortly thereafter when Cosmopolitan U.K. reposted the above theory as fact, and publications including Food Network, Today, and Business Insider quickly followed suit.

But Snopes found that while some spaghetti spoons are specifically designed for portion control, there is no single spaghetti spoon design, shape, or size. And because there is no one-size-fits-all standard for spoon design or noodle serving, we have rated this claim as a Mixture of true and false.

As Metro reported in 2016, “as many brands offer different-sized holes – it’s impossible that every spaghetti spoon holds one portion of spaghetti."

A simple Google search for “spaghetti spoons” shows just how varied the size, spacing, and shape of spaghetti spoon holes can be.

Just as spaghetti spoon design varies, so do serving sizes for spaghetti noodles. Most packaging for commercial food products in the U.S. is required by the Food and Drug Administration to include a nutrition facts label that includes serving size and how many servings are in each package. The serving size for spaghetti noodles is most often 2 ounces for uncooked noodles (one cup cooked), according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Snopes further discussed the claim with Melissa Prest, a Chicago-based registered dietician nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"For longer noodles like spaghetti, [a serving size] would be about the size of a quarter if you bundle them together. The hole in the pasta spoon does equal about one serving if you loosely gather the noodles through the hole. If you tightly bundle the noodles through the hole it may end up being a little more than one serving," Prest told Snopes by email.

As mentioned above, there are specially designed products to measure for portion control.

For the most part, though, the holes in spaghetti spoons are there for draining water.

Sources

Gladwell, Hattie. “Sorry, but Your Spaghetti Spoon Isn’t a Game Changer after All.” Metro, 30 June 2016, https://metro.co.uk/2016/06/30/sorry-but-your-spaghetti-spoon-isnt-a-game-changer-after-all-5973509/.

How to Read Food Labels: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000107.htm. Accessed 15 Jan. 2024.

Imgur. “Did You Know, That the Hole in Your Spaghetti Spoon Holds the Recommended Portion for One Serving Size of Spaghetti.” Imgur, https://imgur.com/gallery/gS4iQ. Accessed 15 Jan. 2024.

Nutrition, Center for Food Safety and Applied. “Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label.” FDA, Dec. 2023. www.fda.gov, https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/changes-nutrition-facts-label.

Schmalbruch, Sarah. “Here’s What That Hole in the Middle of Your Spaghetti Spoon Is For.” Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/why-theres-a-hole-in-the-middle-of-spaghetti-spoons-2016-6. Accessed 15 Jan. 2024.

Spaghetti Spoons - Google Search. https://www.google.com/search?q=spaghetti+spoons&sca_esv=598639786&biw=986&bih=763&ei=x5qlZY36Moiu0PEP09G02Ak&ved=0ahUKEwjN-Y7oouCDAxUIFzQIHdMoDZsQ4dUDCBE&uact=5&oq=spaghetti+spoons&gs_lp=Egxnd3Mtd2l6LXNlcnAaAhgCIhBzcGFnaGV0dGkgc3Bvb25zMgUQABiABDIGEAAYFhgeMggQABgWGB4YDzIGEAAYFhgeMgYQABgWGB4yBhAAGBYYHjIGEAAYFhgeMgsQABiABBiKBRiGAzILEAAYgAQYigUYhgMyCxAAGIAEGIoFGIYDSP4UUABYhAxwAHgBkAEAmAGQAaAB6A-qAQQwLjE2uAEDyAEA-AEBwgIKEAAYgAQYigUYQ8ICERAuGIAEGIoFGJECGMcBGNEDwgIXEC4YgAQYigUYkQIYsQMYgwEYxwEY0QPCAgsQLhiABBixAxiDAcICCxAAGIAEGLEDGIMBwgIREC4YgAQYsQMYgwEYxwEY0QPCAg4QLhiABBiKBRixAxiDAcICERAAGIAEGIoFGJECGLEDGIMBwgIOEC4YgAQYsQMYxwEY0QPCAhEQLhiDARjHARixAxjRAxiABMICCxAAGIAEGIoFGJECwgINEC4YgAQYigUYQxixA8ICCxAuGIAEGMcBGK8BwgIOEAAYgAQYigUYsQMYgwHCAgsQLhivARjHARiABMICERAuGIAEGIoFGJECGLEDGIMBwgIQEAAYgAQYigUYQxixAxiDAcICExAAGIAEGIoFGEMYsQMYgwEYiwPCAg4QABiABBixAxiDARiLA8ICDhAAGIAEGIoFGJECGLEDwgIFEC4YgATiAwQYACBB&sclient=gws-wiz-serp. Accessed 15 Jan. 2024.

“The Reason There’s a Hole in Your Spaghetti Spoon Is ACTUALLY Genius.” Cosmopolitan, 28 June 2016, https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/entertainment/news/a44303/how-much-spaghetti-one-portion-serving/.

“This Simple Trick Will Change the Way You Cook Pasta.” TODAY.Com, 19 Sept. 2018, https://www.today.com/food/pasta-hack-here-s-why-your-spaghetti-spoon-has-hole-t100560.

Madison Dapcevich is a freelance contributor for Snopes.

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