Let’s put it this way: they aren’t telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Ever since companies were required to start printing nutrition labels on their products 15 years ago, they’ve added in enough tricks and half-truths to make it pretty tough to get a real sense of what went into the product they want you to buy.
The good folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest have proposed an overhaul of the nutrition label that will help clear the air. CSPI is calling on the FDA to roll out a new set of standards that will make nutrition labels easier to read and interpret – so that they can serve as the useful nutrition tool they were meant to be. The changes being proposed wouldn’t just affect the information shown; they would also fix the way it’s displayed.
These are just a few of the big changes:
- When a product contains more than 20% of the daily recommended amount of something – sugars, fats, sodium, etc. – the percentage would be printed in red and accompanied by a “High” warning label
- Ingredients would be grouped by type (for example, all the different sugars would be clumped together) and the label would display how much of the serving was made up of those ingredients
- The label would print precisely what percentage of the grains are actually whole grains
The FDA is already considering other changes, like updating serving sizes and moving the nutrition label to the front of the box. It’s time for the label itself to get a makeover, too.
Chime in – do you use nutrition labels? Are they a help, or a hindrance?