Health & Food

Label Mania

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Did you see this blog post by the New York Times? It made me so happy! Basically, the food label may be getting a makeover soon. If I had to name one thing/person who needed a makeover the most, it would be food labels (and of course a few others that I have in mind, but I won’t mention names….I’m on the top of that list!).

Here is what the article says they are proposing for food labels:

1) Put calorie and serving size information in larger type at the top of the label so it’s immediately clear how much you are eating.

 My thoughts: This is a grea

t idea. Currently the print is so small, it gets lost with everything else. Take this label (above), for example, the serving size is first, but it’s not highlighted, people may not even notice it! 150 calories doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you knew it was only 7 chips that provided those calories, that may be a whole other story.

2) Make the ingredient list easier to read by printing it in regular type instead of all capital letters. Use bullets to separate ingredients rather than allowing them to all run together.

My thoughts: I had not even really thought about this before, how about you? Now that I think about it this is a great point, they do all run together. Check out the food label below, yikes!

3) List minor ingredients and allergens separately from the main ingredient list. Highlight allergy information in red.


My thoughts: I have often struggle to find if products contain wheat (FODMAPS diet says no wheat). Check out the label above, the allergens blend right in with the ingredients. If the allergens were highlighted in red it would make my life, and many others’, easier. Plus I could tell clients what to look for. I think the label below does a great job of making the allergens easy to find. They are listed separately and in bold, but if they were red it would be even easier to find for those who have to look for this information on EVERY SINGLE LABEL.4) List similar ingredients together and show the percentage by weight. For instance, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and grape juice concentrate are all forms of sugar and should be listed in parenthesis under the catchall heading “sugars”.

My thoughts: This may confuse people who have already gotten used to seeing the ingredients listed in order of percentage by weight. However, I think it’s a great idea, as many people don’t understand that corn syrup, and many concentrates are just another word for “sugar”. The label below is a great example. Some people might not understand that corn syrup and HFCS are just another way of saying”sugar”, and so “sugar” is actually the second ingredient in this product.

5) Use red labeling and the word “high” when a product has more than 20 percent of the daily recommendation for fats, sugars, sodium or cholesterol.

My Thoughts: This is by far my favorite recommendation. This would even help me! When is 5% good and when is it bad? Which nutrients should I look to see if there is at least 20% DV or less? Does anyone else get confused about the percent daily value (DV)? This would make life so much easier. Why didn’t they think of it before??

6) Make it clear which sugars are added to the product versus those that occur naturally.

My thoughts: For those who really watch their sugar sources this could be helpful. This is also good for dairy products, and juices. Looking at the kefir label below, it may be unclear for some people where the sugar comes from, but in fact it occurs naturally in the milk that is used to make the kefir. It’s in the form of the disaccharide lactose (glucose and galactose). Looking at the ingredient list, however, you really can’t tell where this 8 grams of sugar came from! It’s confusing.6) Display prominently the percentage of whole grains contained in a product.

My thoughts: This is another one that I find incredibly important! They say we should all be making at least half of our grains “whole”, but we never even know what percentage of whole grains our products contain. How are we supposed to make half our grains whole? When I’m buying cereal, or telling clients what to look for when buying cereal, I’d love for them to look for a whole grain percentage, rather than having to decipher all this junk.


7) List caffeine content.

My thoughts: Can I tell you something? They don’t even list the caffeine content on my Maxwell House coffee!! I had to do some research and sort of deduce a guess for the amount of caffeine I have been consuming each day. For all I know, I’m way off! This would be so nice, and about 100 years too late.

Question: Which changes would you make?

I would change the trans fat law, which says if a product contains less than .05 grams of trans fat per serving, it can be listed as 0 grams trans fat! That’s ridiculous. Nick and I were eating that Cool Whip (label above) by the spoon full, until I noticed it had hydrogenated vegetable oils! Bummer.

Five RANDOM Things I’ve Learned This Year
(Continued from previous posts)

Spaghetti squash is the reason I love fall and winter. I can’t believe I never used to buy spaghetti squash on a regular basis.

Taking a moment to just relax and breath really helps when I am starting to get stressed.

Drinking my water threw a straw everyday was not the best idea. It was causing me to take in way too much air, and thus I was uncomfortable.

The lotion in the green bottle from Garnier Fructise causes me to breakout, MAJORLY.

Update

This weekend has gone by just as fast as the week, which means I’m super behind on what I wanted to accomplish! Today I’m doing some baking and tons of errand running (isn’t that what Sundays are for?!). Stay tuned for my next post, which will showcase my new breakfast of champions, and provide some hints for planning ahead and being healthy at home. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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