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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nutrition changes

America has an undeniable problem with weight and body image. And it all seems to stem from a lack of education, a lack of concrete facts, and misleading information. Studies have shown that nutrition labels aren't helpful to most people when they reach for packaged food. Serving sizes, unhealthy/heavily processed ingredients, and other vital facts are disregarded by most. To quote this article on such studies: "People were most likely to read the nutrition label when it took front-and-center stage, and tended to read facts closer to the top of the label." Therefore, people are seeing calories and nothing else. Not how many of X food equals that number of calories, if it contains added sugars or trans fat, if the ingredients are natural or chock full of chemicals...just calories. And that isn't helpful when so many people don't even know their body's caloric needs.

The FDA is planning to update the nutrition label to make it easier to understand and highlight the nutritional data that is actually important.
See details of the FDA's proposed nutrition label changes here

There is a short, informative article on Greatist that identifies the four areas that are being emphasized through these changes and why: added sugars, fats, calorie counts, and portion sizes. I think the best part of these revisions is that added sugars are being added to nutrition labels, because that really is our major dietary downfall. Even reading an ingredient list, it's pretty much impossible to know just how much of the sugar listed on the nutrition label is added and how much is naturally occurring. 

I read another article this week that talked about the success of using traffic light colors to highlight a food's nutritional value to assist people with making smarter choices. This obviously can't be done in a grocery store, but in think it would be so beneficial for people grabbing food to go or dining at a restaurant. 

In other positive nutrition news, the recommended daily sugar allotment is now at 5% of total daily intake, slashing the previous recommendation of 10% in half. Obviously this is merely a recommendation, and these guidelines still need some clarification. Does this 5% include natural sugars like fruits and vegetables? If so, I'm screwed when pineapple season arrives...I'm not about to deny myself the pleasure of enjoying half of a freshly cut pineapple.

Again, the problem is that Americans just aren't properly educated on these things. Nutrition needs to be straightforward and accessible. The fundamentals need to be taught in schools and clearer guidelines on healthy foods need to be set in place for adults to learn. Browsing the internet, with its tangents and opinions on various diets and "lifestyles" (read: paleo, keto, low-fat, etc.), just overloads us with information and makes things even harder to understand. Nutrition can't be self-taught on such a large scale.

And to go off on a tangent of my own: Once Upon a Time returned this week! My Sunday nights just got a whole lot better to look at. 
Hook, how I've missed you.
Linking up with the marvelous Katie for a Marvelous in my Monday post!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of this!
Do you think the changes to our nutrition labels will do any good?

Do you follow serving sizes as listed on packaged foods? I personally don't, for the most part. Just because some of the portions dictated are either too obscure or just not enough for me. I don't even understand how to interpret what a serving of popcorn is from looking at the label.


  1. To answer your question - there are some servings that I follow on the nutrition label and some I don't. I guess it just all depends on the product and like you said, whether or not it'll keep me full. I mean cereal... ohh theres no way I'm going to measure a bowl LOL.

    I personaly think it's awesome they'll be adding added sugar to the nutritional labels as well. Sugar is something that many don't understand.. which really is just sad :-X

    1. I completely agree with you on cereal haha. It's too good to stick to one measly serving size, especially if that means 3/4 cup of deliciousness. I usually eyeball a 1/2 cup serving of oatmeal though.

      Another good thing about the new nutrition label is highlighting the different types of fat in a food and taking away the "total calories from fat" piece. I think it takes away the negative focus on fats, which is another huge misconception.