Food labels set for a new look

February 27, 2014

Sigh. I appreciate the good intentions, Mrs. Obama and FDA, but more serious changes are needed besides larger calorie count fonts and an “Added Sugar” label. I can’t wait to see nutrition “gurus” (ones that know what they’re talking about, mind you: 1, 2, 3, among others) tear this apart:

A few issues, off the top of my head:

  • The labels are going to attempt to distinguish from “added sugars” and “natural sugars,” a distinction that is ultimately trivial and useless for long-term health management. Added, natural, whatever, it’s all broken down to the same glucose in the end.
  • “Nor would they disclose the percentage of grains that are healthful whole grains.” Good. Most people would be better off removing grains entirely from their diet instead of mindlessly believing that whole grains are inherently better or more “healthful” than anything else.
  • “This label specifically lists items where people should ‘Avoid too Much,’ and others to ‘Get Enough.’”  According to whom?
  • Sodium isn’t inherently bad, nor is it a “chemical” like the article claims. A decrease of 100mg of suggested daily intake is useless.
  • There’s no mention of alleviating some of the fat-fearing that has been instilled on society for the past couple of decades. Instead, there’ll likely be the same amount of fat-fearing with some added sugar-fearing. So what’s left? Are we still recommending people only eat 50g of protein a day? Percentage daily values aren’t being touched, and they’re my biggest issue with the current public nutritional recommendations.

I know, I know. A lot of this stuff is beyond the interest of many of my readers. As you might be able to tell, I’m pretty passionate about this stuff—I’m especially passionate about dispelling misconceptions and “conventional wisdom.” I’m not going to go too in-depth here; I don’t claim to be an expert on this stuff, only self-educated to the extreme (and you know how I can be.) The takeaway is this: the population would be much better off educating themselves on sound habits instead of relying solely on labels and government recommendations.