Food labeling to get a makeover

Sugar content, calorie counts easier to read

checking labelsContributed by Angela Fitch, MD

If you were to choose to eat a muffin, you’d eat the whole thing, wouldn’t you? Most people don’t consider half a muffin to be a serving size. But, if you look at the current nutrition labeling, that’s typically what you’d see. And it’s not just muffins. For example, the serving size on cartons of ice cream is half a cup. That’s barely one scoop!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees that current food labeling is very misleading—labels were based on eating habits and nutrition data from the 70s and 80s— and are proposing substantial changes to the “nutrition facts” labels on food products. The proposed changes include:

  • Serving sizes would be adjusted to reflect how much Americans really eat.
  • Calorie counts would be more prominent.
  • Added sugars would be added to labeling and note if sugar is processed or from fruits.
  • Percent daily values would shift to the left, making them easier to read.
  • Vitamin D and potassium counts would be required. Vitamins A and C would be optional.

Know what you’re putting in your body

With obesity in the U.S. at an all-time high, these changes are good for consumers and I applaud the FDA’s effort to provide us with the information we need to make educated decisions about the foods we eat and serve our family. Any kind of labeling is pointless though, if you don’t read it. I encourage you to get in the habit of reading the labels on the food you buy. Although it will be quite some time before the new labeling will appear, start looking at the nutrition labels on every item before you put it in your cart. Make a conscious effort to stay away from processed food, added sugars, sodium and hydrogenated oils/processed fats. Looking for foods with less than 10 grams of added sugar is a general rule to be making a better choice.  Ideally whole foods with no added sugar are the best choices.

Of course, making good food choices is just one part of the big picture when it comes to living your healthiest life, including maintaining a healthy weight. Our metabolic health and weight management program offers a coordinated approach to provide the support and resources you need to safely lose weight and keep it off. Please call (513) 475-UC4U for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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