Nutrition Labels: About To Get Real?

Nutrition labeling might finally be getting real – in a very good way.


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Remember when you practically had to pull out a calculator and do the math right there in aisle 7 of Whole Foods during your lunch hour just to figure out how much of that beverage you could actually drink, only to discover that in order to meet your daily requirements without going overboard, you’d be allowed one third of it?  Or how about that 1/2 cup of cereal with a 1/4 cup of skim milk that wouldn’t satisfy an insect until late morning snack time?

We all collectively wondered why labels didn’t more accurately reflect realistic portion sizes. That’s not to say they should pander to the huge portion sizes that some eateries have unhealthily raised the bar to. But when most of us buy a bottle of soda, the label says it’s two servings. Does the average person drink only half and share the rest? Or do we save it for later? Chances are, we drink the whole thing. Granted, beverage companies like The Coca Cola Corporation, are manufacturing smaller bottles of soda. It’s a step in the right direction for sure.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has proposed updated and improved nutrition labels that would display the calorie count in a larger font and would place more emphasis on added sugars as well as nutrients like potassium and Vitamin D.  Serving sizes would also change to reflect more realistically what the average person consumes. In other words, a bottle of soda would e one serving size. A small bag of chips would also be considered one serving size, making it easier or the consumer to make healthier decisions about what and how much they eat.

This would be the first time nutrition labels have been revised since the FDA began requiring them 20 years ago.

Food and beverages would be required to include information about calcium, iron and potassium amounts as well, since most people don’t get enough Vitamin D in their diets, which is vital to good bone health and potassium helps lower your blood pressure.

There is still some discussion about what amount of salt should be considered a healthy amount, as

The FDA labeling proposal will be open to public comment for 90 days, but it will take months for any changes to go into effect. In addition, they’re giving companies up to two years to implement the changes.

If the changes do take effect, it could be a very important step toward improving the health of a society where diabetes and obesity are on the rise in both adults and children.

What do you think? How much time do you spend reading nutrition labels? What do you look for and what would you like to see that is not currently emphasized on nutrition labels?

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