Changes in the Nutrition Label for 2013

Maybe you look at them, maybe you don’t. However, for health buffs, the nutrition label is an integral piece of information that determines whether a particular type of food should go in their shopping cart. Some experts, however, agree that the nutrition label is outdated and needs to be revamped. As 2013 approaches, some changes may be made to the nutrition label that we are so accustomed to seeing on food packages.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the changes should place more emphasis on the total calories and remove the section that indicates the amount of calories from fat. CSPI also expressed the need for changes in the food itself. This includes pressuring manufacturers to put an end to the use of partially hydrogenated oils.

In addition, it also added that labels should use the word “high” to indicate when a food is high in cholesterol, sodium, added sugar and saturated fat. Also, the CSPI is recommending that nutrition labels be moved to the front of the package rather than being on the back or the side.

On top of the changes, CSPI is also mounting an effort to put a halt to labeling that is deemed to be deceptive. This includes using terms like “heart healthy,” “natural,” “antioxidants” and “0g trans-fat.” That last one is especially deceptive as any food that contains partially hydrogenated oils contains some level of trans-fat.

Other health experts have all echoed similar sentiments and believe that the nutrition label should actually contain less information as this makes it easier for consumers to skim and read.

Even with changes in the label, a lot of it still comes down to common sense. If you are trying to slim down, then it is not rocket science to know that a bag of potato chips or cookies is not going to do you any favors regardless of what the label says.

Food Industry to Change Fast With New Health America

fast foodOne aspect of the health care bill taking immediate effect is that chain restaurants will now be required to display nutrition information. What we are witnessing could well make a seismic shift in the changing of the food landscape of America.

The Associated Press Reports:

More than 200,000 fast food and other chain restaurants will have to include calorie counts on menus, menu boards and even drive-throughs.

The new law, which applies to any restaurant with 20 or more locations, directs the Food and Drug Administration to create a new national standard for menu labeling, superseding a growing number of state and city laws. President Barack Obama signed the health care legislation Tuesday.

The idea is to make sure that customers process the calorie information as they are ordering. Many restaurants currently post nutritional information in a hallway, on a hamburger wrapper or on their Web site. The new law will make calories immediately available for most items.

This rule will also apply to vending machines carrying convenience foods.

So how will this change be manifested to the American food system?

Americans’ appetite for cheap and processed foods and factory-farmed meat impacts everything from carbon emissions to water quality to pesticide and farms’ use of antibiotics.

The Oscar-nominated documentary “Food, Inc.” had a huge effect on informing people about the problems in the industrial food system. Oprah brought author and food expert Michael Pollan on her show to discuss the documentary, which she called “thought-provoking” and “eye-opening”. Michael Pollan also made appearances on The Daily Show and told Jon Stewart in January that he thought the passage of health care reform would have a large impact on changing the way people eat, because health insurers would have a financial motive to keep people away from eating unhealthy foods that will cause long-term health problems.

Michelle Obama has also become a public spokeswoman of increasing access to real food, gardening and fighting childhood obesity with her Let’s Move campaign. Last week she spoke to the Grocery Manufacturers Association about completely reassessing the ‘junk’ food which they sell:

“We need you not to just tweak around the edges but entirely rethink the products you are offering, the information that you provide about these products, and how you market those products to our children.”