There is a new proposed food label. What are the differences between the old food label and the new proposal? Do you feel these changes will help consumers to choose better options? Why or why not? What are the things you personally look for on the label when you purchase products? Why?
In the new proposal for a food label a few differences include: required information on added sugars, added vitamin/mineral amounts on labels, and removing “calories from fat” on the label. I feel anytime there is more information that it does help consumers make better decisions. However it is still important that consumers learn about proper diet and how to properly read labels and/or make food choices. One of many common misconceptions with food labels is that “fat is bad”. For example, avocados, MCT oil/coconut oil, and olive oils are pure fat, but are superfoods that are staples in my diet. I like that they proposed removing “calories from fat”, but I also wish they would just remove percentages in general from the label; still leaving the amounts on the label. Everyone’s nutritional demands are different and modern research has shown that higher amounts of the right fats can result in fat being the primary contributor to calories in diet and still being healthy. Another thing to consider is that a very active athlete with high-functioning organs will be able to metabolize and needs higher amounts of protein than other population groups. I love the new “added sugars” part of the new label because a big problem in our society is the added sugars, preservatives, and fillers that weren’t in our staple foods prior to the obesity rates tripling 3-fold in the last 30 years.
Personally when reading labels I first look at the ingredient list and look for a few things including a personal preference that there are no grains or legumes added. I like to see as few ingredients as possible, make sure that I know the ingredients, and then make sure they are quality ingredients. So many boxed and packaged foods have fillers, preservatives, and added sugars that make the food a poor nutritional choice. I then look at the: Calories, Fat, Protein, Carbs, Sugars, and Fiber; just because I have done it for years; but these aren’t as important as to what is actually in the food itself. One of my diet guidelines is eating “Real Whole Foods”, which often means shopping in the fresh fruit and veggie section of the grocery store, going to the farmer’s market, and getting meat from a local butcher where there aren’t food labels at all. As a healthcare professional (RN) and recreational athlete I feel better, think clearer, and perform better when I eat “Real Whole Foods”, minimizing grains and legumes (try to ferment/sproak), and choosing packaged foods with minimal high-quality ingredients.
United States Food and Drug Administration. (2014, August 1). Proposed changes to the nutritional facts label. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#Summary