The nutrition labels on food packages are getting a makeover. The FDA is redesigning the labels to make the caloric content and added sugars more prevalent than the fat content. And the serving sizes are changing too! Is this really what America needs?
Michelle Obama helped announce the new look for food labels as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign, which aims to combat child obesity. Is changing the labels and serving sizes a good idea to remedy the growing obesity rate in America? The recalibration of serving sizes is, according to the FDA, designed to be a reality check to reflect how much Americans actually eat. This seems like a backwards plan because the larger serving sizes make it seem acceptable to consume the increased amount. The increased serving sizes will only enable the country’s portion distortion mentality.
A serving size of ice cream will now be 2/3 of a cup instead of a half-cup. Products that are between one and two servings will now be considered one serving. A 15oz can of soup, for instance, will now be one serving. Since most Americans drink a 20oz soda bottle in one sitting, it will now be one serving. Does this actually aid or guide the consumer’s nutritional thought in a positive way?
The argument behind making the “calorie section” more prominent than the “fat section” on the labels is that most people resort to diets that focus on counting calories when they are trying to lose weight. The calories per serving on labels are based on the average 2,000-calorie per day diet of Americans. Anyone who is trying to lose weight needs to consume about 1,500 calories a day or less. If unhealthy food is being consumed, then the calories are probably not a concern.
The only thing that is great about the new nutritional labels is that they will have a separate line showing the amount of added sugars. This will indicate how much sugar has been added to each food and in turn will show the consumer how many grams of total sugar he/she is ingesting. A 20oz. bottle of Coke will show that it has 65g of added sugar on the label (that’s 130% above the daily recommended intake). Does the average person know the recommended amount of sugar he/she shouldn’t exceed each day (37g for men and 25g for women, by the way)? Our guess is no.
Most food companies have until July 2018 to change the nutrition labels. Will this change the way people think about food? Hopefully it makes the nation a bit more health conscious and doesn’t further distort correct portion sizes. Let us know what you think about this new law.