By: Theresa Carmichael
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration seems to be noticing our want and need to live healthier lives; but are they doing it the right way? The FDA has proposed to update the nutrition facts label that we are all used to seeing since 1990. These changes have ultimately been developed to enhance the understanding of nutrition for all consumers. The potential changes to the label include required information about added sugar, updating the daily values, listing potassium and vitamin D, making calories and serving sizes more prominent, and adding dual column labels for “servings per container”. These are all really great right? Well, there is one huge change that seems to be worrying nutrition professionals. The updated nutrition facts label will also include changes to some of the serving size requirements in order to reflect how much people are really eating and drinking today (compared to 20 years ago). As you may know, people are eating a crazy amount of food compared to what they did due to almost a triple in portion sizes served by fast-food companies, restaurants, and almost every product in your conventional grocery store. Many RD’s are worried that doing this would further increase acceptance that people are simply eating too much. For example, one pint of ice cream is currently deemed as 4 servings (so, 1 serving=1/4 pint). The new nutrition facts label would consider that SAME pint of ice cream as 2 servings (so, 1 serving=1/2 pint). The problem? Although the serving sizes would increase to reflect the amount some people really eat, they would not be modeling how much someone SHOULD eat. I think it all comes down to this: Do we really want to expect and accept the fact that some of us eat half the pint of ice cream instead of eating only ¼ the pint for moderation in a healthy diet? Or, couldn’t we obtain the same goal by educating the public on healthy portions and how to use the nutrition fact label to their benefit? Well, as far-fetched as this may sound, YOU can help decide. Although there are pros and cons to each option, the FDA is accepting public comments on this proposed change at the website below for 90 days. I challenge all the foodies out there to click on the link and give the FDA your opinion. Use your voice!
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