Are the Nutrition Facts confusing to you? Food and Drug Administration wants to add more information. They want you to know more about what you’re eating. Overall that’s a good thing.
In order to give more information about the food you purchase, they want to revise the nutrition facts label. It’s the latest government attempt to improve the way Americans view food and make choices about what they eat. The longstanding food pyramid was replaced this year by the U.S. government in favor of a plate, picturing what a healthy meal looks like.
Is Food Processing Bad?
No, not all food processing is bad. Frozen vegetables and fruit are typically captured at peak ripeness without addition of preservatives or sodium. Canned beans can come in awfully handy, even with added sodium, when you want to make dinner in a flash. I don’t know what I’d do without organic canned tomatoes.
Katy is reading the nutrition label on all her pantry items.
Even when you purchase organic, processed food has added sodium. Most processed food is full of additives. Many highly processed foods are stuffed with unpronounceable and nutritionally harmful substances. Add fat, sugar and salt, as processed foods so often do, it’s a prescription for our current American obesity epidemic.
Does Anyone Read the Nutrition Facts?
Consumers do read food labels and nutrition is an important consideration for many in food purchases. Results from USDA’s Diet and Health Knowledge Survey, 1994-96, indicate that 65 percent of adults use the nutrition label (answering that they either always or sometimes use the label).
The Food Marketing Institute reported in 1999 that 59 percent of consumers have changed purchases because of information on the product label, and nutrition is the second most important factor in consumer food purchase decisions after taste. Food producers have also responded by creating healthier foods. That is all good news.
Labels Can’t Tell Whole Story
Portion sizes on packaging are a joke for the most part. Most people don’t pay attention to portion sizes. Then the “portions” are not congruent with the amount usually consumed. Two and a half servings listed on a 20-ounce soda bottle are typically slurped up by one individual in one sitting, rather than split between a couple and their child. The same goes for a can of soup, where one serving is often listed as two-fifths of a can.
Calories are always the focus, especially with obesity becoming more common. People who want to lose weight are obsessed with calories. Calorie counts are popping up on restaurant menus across the country. And what’s with “grams” as a measure? Not many people know that 4 grams equals about a teaspoon. Something with 12 grams of sugar contains 3 teaspoons or a tablespoon of sugar. Why don’t they list ingredients in amounts people can visualize?
When you eat whole foods without added sugars, altered fats and bleached white flours, calories are a side issue. It’s the processed foods that pack on the weight. Once a person moves to whole foods, the emphasis changes from calories to nutrition.
Additional information on labels would be helpful for those who are concerned, but it won’t really change the way the average person eats. Most people still believe the FDA is protecting our families. People still want to believe the FDA is looking out for them. So tell me, why did the FDA approve all those harmful chemicals found in your favorite foods?
For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.