So this article from the Huffington Post is a couple of weeks old, but I wanted to share it with you anyway. There has been a lot of talk going around for a long time regarding those nutrition labels on the back of your food packages. If you’re like most of America, those labels might as well be written in Greek. If you happen to be well versed in the health and food industry, then those labels can be helpful. But the issue with Americans and their struggle with obesity is a LACK of knowledge about health and food… therefore making complicated labels pretty much useless. I think having a nutrition label is a great idea, but it definitely needs to be more user friendly.
Some of the ideas presented in this article are wonderful (e.g. a chart that lists what percent of the food item is composed of what ingredient). But I’m teeter-tottering on the change to the serving size. On the one hand, one of the main reasons we are obese is because we overeat. We have no sense of portion control. A serving size is supposed to give you an idea of what you SHOULD be eating. On the other hand, there has been a lot of research pointing to overeating as an instinctive device to ward off starvation (eat as much as you can now because you don’t know when the next meal is coming). And since we are habitual creatures and perhaps it is true that overeating is in our nature, maybe it is a better idea to let people know what they’re ACTUALLY eating instead of what they SHOULD be eating. I just can’t decide which would be a more effective way to help people cut back.
I do not, however, like the idea of omitting the daily percent value numbers. A person’s daily diet needs to consist of the right amounts of vitamins, nutrients, fats, proteins, and carbs. Getting too much or too little of those nutrients can be detrimental. So if a dieter is cutting fat from their diet in order to lose weight, the daily percent values can help decipher how much to cut out without having too little. The same goes in reverse… a person might not realize that they are getting too much protein or too much of a certain vitamin, so the daily percent values can be used as a reference.
The FDA is taking a much needed step to improve these labels, but it looks like they still have a long way to go. What do you think about the new labels? Is there anything you like about them? Is there anything you dislike? What would you add or change if it were up to you?