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Confused By Food Labels? Read the Fine Print!

  • April 10, 2011
  • 6:01 pm
  • 2 of 3

Reform Package

Earlier this year, manufacturers of packaged foods took a step in the right direction by rolling out a voluntary front-of-package labeling system called Nutrition Keys. But critics say the system, like the Smart Choices program that came before it (which has been discontinued), is no less confusing to consumers.

6 Tricks to help cut your grocery bill.

“There’s still a need for awareness and education about how to interpret the information to answer important questions such as how many calories is enough? Or too many?” says Moore.

A preliminary report by the IOM addresses some of these issues and recommends that front-of-package nutrition information be standardized and emphasize the items of most concern: calories, salt, saturated fat, and trans fats.

The IOM is also rallying for more reasonable serving sizes. For example, a can of nuts may boast “150 calories!” on the front, but flipping it over reveals there are actually 150 calories per serving, and that the small package holds seven servings.

Nutrition information is likely to start showing up in more places too. As part of the new health reform bill, restaurant chains with 20 or more locations nationwide are required to post calorie information for all the food they sell, which is important legislation given how often American families eat out.

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Read more: Basics, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, , , , , ,

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Rodale

Rodale.com is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. Rodale.com focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice.

123 comments

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7:53AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:16PM PDT on May 7, 2011

I always read labels. In Canada it's a law to write everything (but we never know if il is really followed!) not sure in U.S.
Thanks for this article!

12:45AM PDT on Apr 25, 2011

I've read labels for about as long as there has been something on them to read, as we had a son who had special dietary needs. I feel the main problem is that the manufactures have bastardized the quality of our food for the sake of their profits. Anything that they could do to produce a passable simile of the product for a lesser cost was done. Even now, they short the quantity in the package and raise the price, counting on the consumer not to notice the difference, because most shoppers just go down the aisle and put their usual purchase in the basket without really looking at the label. (I see this all the time in the store!) The shrinking product, started out as 16oz, then 15oz, then 14.5oz, now 13oz, and it costs 75 cents more than when it was 16oz, when will it stop? Will we be buying empty cans? What will they put on the labels then?

7:29AM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

I always read lables, they are so misleading sometimes. I hardly ever buy chocolat deserts ever since I read the calory count :-S

7:23PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

I definitely read labels...and I don't buy it if it contains stuff I can't pronounce or HFCS...along with numerous other crap.

5:25AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

thanks for telling the world

5:24AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

thanks

10:13AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Hmmm...

8:36AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

What I want to know is why labels only need to have Vitamin A, C, Iron, and Calcium at the bottom. What if a product has a lot of potassium or iodine or Vitamin B6? It would be nice to know what other nutrients are in what you're eating. It's easy to know for fresh food (go to The World's Healthiest Foods website), but for packaged foods, I really wish they would put a full list of nutrients.

12:05PM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

Well they start sneaking all sorts of crap into our food .. Sad but you cannot trust food companies anymore .. all they care about is profit!!!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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