Those Nutrition Facts labels that are plastered on just about every packaged food in the supermarket are soon to get an update by the Food and Drug Administration. Just like the coming presidential elections, some folks are all for this, and others are not. A few of the things the FDA is considering tinkering with are:
Misleading serving sizes. In general, serving sizes are so unrealistically tiny that it makes any food look healthy. Come on, who eats just one serving of potato chips? While an ounce (which is listed on the package) may sound like a lot, that translates to roughly 10 chips! And, to remember that just ¼ cup of granola is a serving, you should eat it from a measuring cup, not a cereal bowl. And that itty bit can pack as many as 7 grams of fat! So personally, I think putting more realistic serving sizes on packages is a good idea.
Sugar eye-openers. Right now you can easily see how much total sugar is in a food. But the FDA is looking into also telling you how much sugar has been added to a product. That may give you pause when you pick up a bottle of fruit juice, carton of yogurt, or even a jar of pasta sauce. The American Bakers Association is opposed to this idea, but I’m for it.
Daily Values changes. The Daily Value tells you the percentage of vital nutrients you’re getting in one serving of food. So if the label says 12 percent dietary fiber, that means that food is supplying 12 percent of what you should be getting every day. Sounds logical, but hold on. What may change is how the DV is calculated. Now it’s based on an estimated average of your requirements (EAR) instead of recommended dietary allowances (RDA). A recalculation could lower those percentages so it may look like you could get all the nutrients you need in a day from food alone instead of augmenting your diet with vitamin supplements. Needless to say, the supplement industry isn’t in favor of that change.
Bottom line: It does seem as though nutrition labels could use some fine-tuning to make it easier for us to know exactly what we’re getting. If you could makeover the Nutrition Facts label, what changes would you make? Write and tell me. Your ideas may make the basis of an upcoming article.