December 29, 2009

Food labels still confusing?

You are not alone if "Healthy" choices on labels don't help you give your family healthier meals.

The Fooducate blog is a dandy source of info on food. It gives us 7 Suggested Label Improvements:

1. Show REAL serving size. NOT those ridiculously childsize ones. Who eats just 15 potato chips at a time or 3 Oreos? Betcha the manufacturers who minimize the servings to toddler size portions so that the nutrition facts per serving won’t seem too bad (calories, sugar, etc…) eat or drink more than their own suggested servings.

2. How much ADDED sugar that provides empty calories? The nutrition label states the amount of total sugar in a serving, but it does not indicate whether the sugar is added to the food, occurs naturally, or both. Unfortunately, today consumers can only guess how much sugar has been added to a product.

3. Daily Values for Protein and Sugar. These numbers don’t appear on nutrition labels today and consumers can only guess if 5 grams of protein are a lot or a little. People don’t know what amount of sugar is an acceptable daily intake either.

4. Zero should be zero. Did you know that if a product contains trans fat, but less than 0.5 grams per serving, it can legally be labeled as 0 gram of trans fat?

5. How much Caffeine? Most folks are often surprised to discover caffeine in soft drinks, cakes, and other snack items. Some energy drinks contain ridiculously high amounts. Physicians have asked the FDA to require caffeine labeling on energy drinks.

6. Allow rBGH-free labels even though most milk qualifies. rBGH / rBST is a hormone injected into cows to increase their milk output.

7. Label Booze. At least provide serving size and calories.