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food labels



Petition the FDA to Add Sugar in Teaspoons to Nutrition Labels

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.”
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Beware Carrageenan, a Food Additive Common in Organic Products

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

If you are into reading labels then you have most likely seen an ingredient called carrageenan. It specifically appears on the label of many organic processed food products.

What is Carrageenan?

Carrageenan is a polysaccharide derived from red seaweed and it has molecular qualities similar to plastic. Seaweed sounds innocent enough; it’s natural right? Absolutely, as a matter of fact, many types of seaweed are commonly used as a medicinal food to support many conditions like thyroid disorder and even cancer. However, not all seaweed is created equal and the process in which carrageenan is extracted from the red seaweed has become the cornerstone of a debate about allowed ingredients in organic products.
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Coca-Cola CEO Reacts to Mayor Bloomberg’s Soda Ban

Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola, recently spoke out on allegations of his company being responsible for the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Kent’s responses come weeks after New York City Mayor Bloomberg proposed to limit the consumption of sugary drinks over 16 ounces. Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to help lower obesity rates is making headlines across the country. Bloomberg’s proposal will change the sugary drink game for any restaurant, fast-food chain, and any place of business that offers beverages.

Kent says Coca-Cola is not responsible in any way for the rising obesity rates and that obesity is a societal issue. “It is, I believe, incorrect and unjust to put the blame on any single ingredient, any single product, any single category of food,” was Kent’s response to Bloomberg’s proposal.
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True Food Shopper’s Guide: Your Guide to Non-GMO Foods

The term genetically modified organism or GMO is sneaking into many news stories as of late. Consumers are becoming more vocal about their rights to know what is in the food they’re purchasing. Currently, the U.S. has no laws requiring companies to label their foods as a GMO. Thankfully, The Center for Food Safety has created a food guide to aid shoppers the next time they head to the store.

The True Food Shopper’s Guide is a perfect tool for those looking to navigate any grocery store and avoid purchasing the unlabeled GMOs on the shelf. GMOs are foods that have been created in a lab. In these GMO labs, genes are artificially inserted into the DNA of foods crops or animals. The resulting GMO can be engineered with genes from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, or even humans.

When polled, the majority of Americans said they would not choose a GMO food, if it were labeled. Since we do not have the luxury of labels, unlike most other industrialized countries, knowing what our foods contain is a mystery. However, the shopper’s guide takes away the wonder and puts the right to know back in the consumer’s hands.
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Servings Size Scams Don’t Effect the Well Informed

I get a lot of emails from people that know I’m a health writer that stumble upon interesting articles. They shoot me the link, usually with a subject line of “Can you believe this!?” Today I logged in to find an article sent to me called “Serving Size Scams Can Make You Fat” from MSNBC.com. Excited to share with you all which foods are “marketed as lower in calories than they really are,” I opened the link.

Fail. This is what I found:

Serving Size Rip-Off: Campbell’s Chunky Microwaveable Soup
Listed calories: 200
Servings per container: 2
Total calories: 400

They then go on to claim it is ludicrous that one single microwavable cup is 2 servings because people will only eat it all in one sitting.

They list Pop Tarts (who only eats just one?) packages of ramen noodles, pot pies and more processed foods that anyone interested in eating healthy wouldn’t touch anyway as shady labeling offenders…because they have more than one serving per package.

Wait, wait, wait. So because most people will devour the food in one sitting, companies should change their serving sizes to one entire package? Valid point if you want to make it, but to say they are “scamming” people is making excuses for those who aren’t informed on how to properly read a nutrition label. All the information on the package is correct and legal- it is not the company’s fault you don’t know how to interpret it.


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