Late last week the Food and Drug Administration made a huge announcement that basically holds more businesses accountable for the calories in the food they choose to serve. The new food laws, which falls under the Affordable Care Act, will absolutely affect you; expect to know how many calories are in that tub of popcorn at the movie theater, for instance.
Let’s break down the most important changes you will notice next year.
1. All major businesses will need to display their calorie counts.
Some big cities are already held to this standard, like New York City. But the FDA’s new laws will require any establishment that sells prepared food (and also has more than 20 locations) to display its food’s calorie information. A one-stop independent bakery will not be affected, but your local and booming coffee purveyor that’s become a chain will not be exempt.
2. Calories will be on the menu.
Calorie content will appear on menus and menu boards in restaurants, though bakeries, coffee shops, pizza joints, movie theaters, and amusement parks will be affected, as well. The idea is to provide easy access to the caloric information of your food choices to help you realize exactly what you are ingesting. The FDA also hopes that it will inspire restaurants to make healthier food preparation choices.
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I’m not usually a big chocolate fan. Except for when I am. And then… look out! But let’s put this in context: I usually get a sugar craving in early afternoon. (I’m more of a lunch dessert person than a dinner dessert person.) Lately I’ve been buying dark chocolate covered almonds as my sweet treat. When the craving strikes I get up, grab a few, then get back to work. However, the other day I accidentally brought the whole container back to my desk. And, before I knew what had happened, I’d gone ahead and eaten about 3 times as many as usual.
If I usually eat 4 chocolate-almonds, this time I ate 12. It was definitely a case of distracted eating—I was working at my computer paying a lot more attention to typing than to what and how much I was eating. I checked the back of the package and 1/4 cup weighs in at 230 calories. Oops.
How can a person burn off the 230 calories from around 12 chocolate covered almonds?
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If something has stayed the same for 20 years, it’s usually either a sign of a tradition holding fast, or an indication that it’s time for a change. Change is in the air at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which has plans to overhaul its 20-year-old design of food labels.
According to the FDA, the new design is headed down the path of final approval. “The agency is working toward publishing proposed rules to update the nutrition facts label and serving size information to improve consumer understanding and use of nutrition information on food labels,” Juli Putnam, a media spokesperson for the FDA, told TIME magazine.
Many consumers and nutrition experts are saying it’s about time the labels are updated. Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods told ABC News that, 20 years ago, “there was a big focus on fat, and fat undifferentiated. The food environment has changed and our dietary guidance has changed. It’s important to keep this updated so what is iconic doesn’t become a relic.”
The last notable change to food labels was the separation of trans fats from all fats in 2006, due to consumer demand.
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Bob Greene has laid out some easy and convenient tips for developing a healthy appetite. From simple calorie counting suggestions to portion control, these pointers will help you ease in to your weight loss program. As summer begins to rear its pretty head, it’s important to abide by a consistent foundation of eating habits. Enjoy and employ these seven strategies for keeping your appetite in check.
Monday’s inauguration of President Barack Obama will be filled with pomp, circumstance, and a jam-packed schedule of invite-only events where the president and Mrs. Obama are the guests of honor. And it all starts with the Inaugural Luncheon.
This year’s luncheon is a bit on the indulgent side, admittedly. We first checked out the menu with excitement, but as we read through the three courses our smiles quickly turned to frowns, not at the extravagance of the dishes but their sky-high calorie counts.
One full serving is more than 3,000 calories! Lobster in clam chowder sauce, grilled bison and a finish of rich apple pie with homemade ice cream take no time to zip past a single day’s calorie reserve. CalorieCount.com‘s Rachel Berman, RD, CSR, CDN – who compiled this year’s Inaugural Luncheon nutritional statistics – was a little shocked by the numbers, too, and felt that although it’s fine and even healthy to treat ourselves once in a while, the figures were a bit too to justify.
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