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.
They’re at it again, and this time just a little more sneakily than before. Not only are some of the biggest brands in organic and earth-friendly food still supporting anti-labeling campaigns, but now they’re trying to do it in secret.
A new infographic produced by Cornucopia.org shows which brands still oppose the labeling of GMOs. What’s more, after facing major backlash from their opposition to Prop 37, many of those corporations hid behind membership in the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to secretly continue funding anti-labeling measures. (more…)
A humble pocket of our society has grown increasingly health conscious in recent years, and while DietsInReview touts the positive exploits of the nutritionally enlightened, there is still a large chunk of the population who simply don’t get it. Proposed nutritional labeling on alcoholic beverages is an issue that could unite both the trim and otherwise alike, and perhaps usher some unhealthy citizens toward the light.
The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau originally proposed the nutritional labeling in 2007, and have been mulling over its execution since then. The production and consumption of alcohol is big business—it’s said beer is the third most popular beverage in the world—so the fact that nutritional labels aren’t being slapped on cans and bottles already is mystifying. The alcohol manufacturers that have caught on to the calorie conscious trend—Skinny Girl spirits and Miller 64 come to mind—are all for the proposed change. Those same people are fans of the change because they want increased options and awareness of what’s in their libations. (more…)
Picture this: the doors have slid open, the gust of cold air hits us, and now we’re faced with the 45,000 products the average supermarket carries. Aside from feeling purely overwhelmed at deciding what and how to choose what goes into our carts, along with our rushed, over-scheduled lives, we seem to spend more time thinking about what goes ON our bodies (like clothes and shoes) than what goes IN them.
So many food labels are difficult to decode – perhaps the reason why 60-70 percent of what we purchase is unplanned. We often fall prey to items that wear descriptive names, like “natural” and “wholesome” and “organic”…these words are like magnets attracting us to their otherwise less attractive products. Studies have shown that when a food is deemed superior through a name, it is more likely that people would expect the food to be beneficial to their health. Trans-fat free fries, baked chips, and organic candies are all surrounded by health halos, yet some halos are far from angelic.
But you shouldn’t have to be a mathematician, a librarian, or a dietitian to buy the right foods. The food label should be like the table of contents of a book – it should tell us what’s inside. Unfortunately, misleading labels lurk throughout the store and I’m here today to give you the inside scoop on what’s really going on between the lines. Here are a few examples of some personal favorite ‘wall of shame’ claims where food companies are selling sound bites instead of sound advice. (more…)
The nonprofit ocean protection group called Oceana has been performing a study, the results of which were released last week. The question – whether or not we’re being sold, and therefore eating, the fish we think we are.
Oceana took a sum of around 1,215 fish from 12 different parts of the country and examined them to see if they matched their labels or not. Listed below are the study’s findings.
- About one-third of the 1,215 fish samples bought from 2010-2012 were mislabeled.
- In a collection of 120 samples that were marked as red snapper fish, 28 different species of fish were discovered. Of those, 17 were not even within the snapper fish family.
- Southern California was the region most likely to be misinformed with 52 percent of the samples bought there actually being something different. (more…)
We’re just hours away from the weekend! So that means it’s time for a dose of healthy news from DIR and our friends. This week’s headlines include a story about major organic companies funding against GMO labeling, a lunch lady told to stop making healthier food, and caramel apple-inspired recipes for fall.
Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue by Writing a Diet and Fitness Book
If you can’t get enough of Sarah Palin then you’ll want to pick up her diet and fitness book when (and if) it is for sale, which she announced is in the works. It will be interesting to read and hear about the things in her book because the former Alaskan governor once bashed the idea of serving healthy snacks in schools. Do you think people will take the book seriously? Tell us what you think!
Paul Ryan Would Leave Joe Biden in the Dust if Politics Was Gym Class
Thursday’s presidential debate probably left some questions relating to America’s future answered and others unanswered. So we were questioning who would win the election depending on who has the best physical fitness and personal diet? Take a look at Congressman Paul Ryan’s and Vice President Joe Biden’s fitness routine and diet habits and tell us what you think!
Major Organic Brands, Like Kashi and Naked, Funding Anti-GMO Labeling Campaigns
The vote for California’s Prop 37 is next month and if it is passed it will radically change the processed food industry. Many Californians and organic brands like Clif Bar, Annie’s and Uncle Matt’s are in favor of Prop 37. However, other organic brands like Kashi, Naked, and Silk are donating thousands-to-millions of dollars to fund anti-GMO labeling campaigns. Do you think the organic companies shouldn’t be donating against GMO labeling and practice what they preach? (more…)
By Jonathan Bailor
Have you ever wondered what the vitamin and mineral percentages on nutrition labels actually mean?
Ten percent of vitamin A. Hmmmm. Is that good or bad? Ten percent for a child? Ten percent for an adult? Ten percent for a woman? Oh gosh, I thought I was grocery shopping not taking a math test.
These are wonderful questions to ask, because otherwise we may assume double-digit percentages mean the food is nutritious, and sadly, that’s frequently false. For example, let’s say you want to mix it up a bit during your next trip to the grocery store, and are looking to boost your calcium intake. You spot some goat’s milk, and consider giving it a whirl. You grab the carton, flip it around and see this label: 30 percent calcium. Traditionally you may consider this a “good source” of calcium. But is it? Should you give the good old goat a go? Maybe.
Here are the three key questions to ask to help with your decision: (more…)
It’s in ranch dressing, Doritos, canned soups, and french fries. You’re eating it if you go to KFC, have green bean casserole, or take a swig of Diet Coke. Really, any processed food likely includes some form of it. What is this ubiquitous food product? Monosodium glutamate, most commonly known as MSG.
For years, MSG has been the subject of debate. The Food and Drug Administration calls it safe, MSG-sensitive persons think it causes headaches and asthma, and scientists show conflicting research on the effects of MSG. What’s the truth? Should everyone stop eating it? Are the food companies and government in conspiracy against the public? Or is this product a safe and healthy flavor enhancer?
First, it is helpful to go over what monosodium glutamate is. MSG is added to foods to enhance flavor without giving a flavor of its own, according to the FDA. It was first discovered in Japan in 1908 by a scientist named Ikeda, who isolated the compound after wanting to know the secret of his wife’s delicious soup. Along with branding his product and making millions, he also came up with the idea of umami, a fifth taste translated as savory or deliciousness that is distinct from the senses of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. (more…)
It’s Friday! Before you take off for the weekend, take some time to read this week’s best health and fitness headlines. This week’s dose of healthy news consists of a women-only run that gets pretty muddy, increasing your chances of pregnancy with a fertility-focused diet, and recipes for a solid weekend dinner.
Petition the FDA to Add Sugar in Teaspoons to Nutrition Labels
When buying processed food, reading the nutritional label is important for your health. Processed foods’ nutritional labels use the metric system, but most Americans do not understand it. Learn how some people are trying to change the nutritional label information from grams to teaspoons to make it easier to understand how much sugar you’re consuming.
Get Down and Dirty at Pretty Muddy, a Women-Only Obstacle Mud Run
You can get colorful with the Color Run or glow during the Glow Run, but have you thought about running Pretty Muddy? It’s a women-only 5K where you get down and dirty while running through a muddy obstacle course. Sign-up fast, the first run is in Chicago on September 15!
State of School Lunches: How MyPlate Will Start Making a Difference This Year
The food pyramid was replaced by MyPlate over a year ago. MyPlate is a visual representation of what your plate should look like, and now school lunches have to meet these guidelines, too. Check a school cafeteria this fall.
News from our friends
5 Hot Workouts on the Horizon You Have to Try – FitBottomedGirls.com
Men: Improve Your Sex Life by Losing 2.5 Inches Off Your Waist – HealthBubble.com
The Fertility Diet – Yahoo! Shine
Recipes we love
BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw
Summery Black Bean Salad
Raspberry and Serrano Sangria – TreeHugger.com
Don’t wait until the end of the week to hear from us! Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, or Like us on Facebook!
Be honest, do you read nutrition labels? I have to admit I read them more and more in a quest for better health. I try to pay attention to sodium, sugar, fat and calories and I’m especially focused on the ingredient list. These labels hold the key to the ingredients within the foods we eat and are often more telling of the quality of food than the often confusing nutrition facts.
As Americans we don’t follow the metric system, so understanding the number of grams of various elements in our food can prove difficult; for some it can make the information downright useless. To make that label even more relevant, there is a petition circulating at Change.org requesting that the FDA add the number of teaspoons of sugar to the “per serving” section on nutrition labels. They currently have 117 of 18,000 desired signatures.
Implementing this idea can help greatly with understanding just how much sugar is in the foods you are considering. Added sugar is one of many catalysts in the current levels of obesity we see throughout the country.
To see how helpful this change might be, I asked our resident registered dietician Mary Hartley if reflecting sugar measurements in teaspoons would be beneficial. “Yes it would be helpful if added sugar were separated from naturally occurring sugars in fruit, milk and some vegetables,” Mary said. When asked if seeing the sugar content in grams can make a difference in curbing obesity, Mary stated, “Obesity is a multifaceted, complex problem. I would not expect any single intervention to make a big difference, although many small actions do add up. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.” (more…)