Nutrition labels first appeared on American food packages in 1993 as an aid to help us understand both the quantity and quality of the food we were eating. However, since their introduction, obesity rates in the U.S. have sky-rocketed, leading the FDA to conclude that it’s time for a change. They have proposed new labels with the following alterations:
The calories from fat per serving, which appears at the top of the current label across from the calorie count, will be eliminated. Why? Because back in 1993 fat was thought to be the biggest bane to the American diet. In recent years that has been largely debunked. The type of fat is far more important than the total amount of fat, thus saturated and trans fat listings will remain on the new labels.
Sugar has replaced fat as the major culprit in our diets. As a result, for the first time, “added sugars” will be included on the new label. Added sugars are sugars that are added by the food industry during processing that are in addition to the natural sugars that may already occur in the food. Americans now eat about 16% of their daily calories from sugars that are added during food production. The dramatic rise in Type-2 diabetes in the last decade can be partly attributed to those cheap added sugars.
The number of servings and the calorie count per serving will be featured prominently in large font. Serving size will, by law, be based on what people actually eat, not on what they “should” be eating. Does this mean that the FDA is attempting to get us to eat more? Hardly. Their goal is to help us understand how much we actually are eating so that we can make appropriate changes.
For instance, the current serving size for ice cream is 1/2 cup. I know nobody, repeat, NOBODY, who eats that puny amount. The FDA will require that the new serving size for ice cream be a much more realistic 1 cup. In other words you, the consumer, are going to have to get real about the amount of ice cream you’re actually scooping into your bowl.
Remember, the new labels aren’t designed to tell us how much to eat, rather what we probably are eating. Some personal responsibility is going to be required when these new labels start showing up within the next year or two.
That 20-oz. Coke you just bought at the 7-Eleven? You really aren’t going to share it with your best pal, are you? The FDA doesn’t think so either: the new labels will state that 20-oz. sodas are one serving.
Ouch. I know the truth really is good for us, but damn! It hurts.