FDA’s new food labels

It would be a complete shame as a health and fitness blogger, whose goal is to advocate and educate on living better, healthier lives, if I failed to mention the FDA’s proposed food label updates. Such a shame that I would have to deny myself the title of health and fitness blogger. Since I like said title, let’s chat about the FDA, shall we? 🙂

If some of you are unaware, the FDA announced late February it is going to update food labels. Some major changes include requiring information on the amount of added sugars, reflecting serving sizes based on the way people currently eat, and emphasizing certain elements.

taken from FDA

taken from FDA

Their efforts serve to address the current state of the obesity problem in the United States, which has led to diabetes, heart disease and more. I am all in favor of addressing these issues. I wouldn’t be writing a health and fitness blog if I wasn’t. But, I have some things to point out.

Added sugars

This is fantastic that they’re adding this. I’m completely ecstatic, seriously. It’s a great move toward informing people on what they’re actually eating. If you see there’s a bunch of added sugars, you know you’re eating junk.

The NY Times article from above even said that this can influence companies to start reducing the amount of added sugars like it did when calories from fat were included on food labels in 2006.

While I’m rejoicing at this update, I’m also left asking one thing. What about the manufacturers? What about restricting how much sugar they’re allowed to add?

I personally feel that the manufacturers are the ones who need to be responsible. They have a large say of what food is produced and sold, leading to the large influence on the American diet. It’s time they’re held responsible and not the food labels.

I know someone will read this and have some smart, legal reason why the FDA can’t do this. I welcome it because I want to know why.

Serving sizes

On certain food products, the serving sizes were deceptively labeled. Soda or juice, for example, would give nutritional information for 1/3 of a bottle, which no one actually drinks a 1/3 of a bottle. In this regard, I’m cheering.

taken from FDA

taken from FDA

I’m not cheering about two things.

Many people aren’t educated on what amounts to a specific “serving.” I know I’m not the only one here. When a jar of delicious almond butter says 2 tablespoons, unless I’m actually measuring, I have no idea what 2 tablespoons equals in almond butter.

My point here is that while this is a great improvement to food labels, it’s not the cure to overeating. Not that I’m saying that’s what the FDA was out to do. Americans need to become more aware of what an actual serving is and how much they’re eating, which brings me to point two.

In the FDA’s press release, it says it will base serving sizes to reflect the amount people currently eat. Serving sizes from 20 years ago have increased by significant amounts. Correct me if I’m wrong here (seriously correct me), but this tells me that we’re overeating. The FDA, then, is reflecting serving sizes based on patterns of overeating.

I’m no nutritional science expert, but overeating, without proper exercise, or any exercise for that matter, leads to obesity as well.

Emphasizing calories

My last problem resides in emphasizing calories. I think everyone needs to be aware of calories. However, many people treat high caloric foods like the black plague. This is fine for some foods, but there are plenty of very nutritional foods high in calories. Avocados for example.

David Kantz, M.D. and Director of Yale Prevention Research Center, wrote an article that you need to read. He explains this better than I ever could.

In conclusion….

I’ve bored you enough with this long post, especially if you’ve stayed with me this whole time. I’m passionate about health and fitness and this is a huge deal when it comes to the health of America. If you’re just as passionate and have something to say about the proposed changes, I dare you to comment on the FDA’s proposed food label changes. It’s open for 90 days.

Here’s more information on the proposed changes.

We are ultimately responsible for our own health and fitness, and it’s time we start acting on it.

Let’s get energized to change health and fitness!


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