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Do you read the Nutrition Facts Label?

The ingredient list is what I look at first. I ask myself; do I have the ingredients in my kitchen? The nutrition facts label may offer interesting nutritional information however it only provides ballpark information. The margin of error on nutrients is 20% unless the nutrient has been added to the product. Example:  Vit C enriched juice must contain the amount of vitamin C listed. Regular juice only needs to have 80% of what is listed on the label. And “zero” trans fat or gluten free can still contain up to 0.5gm.

Link to read the full regulation and look for the green: “Submit a Formal Comment” button (ends 6/2/2014) to comment to the FDA on the proposed new food label.
We have two choices to give our comments on, I like the Alternate Format. It has a little nutrition education included. The problem for the consumer may be with having added sugars and fiber separate from the Total Carbs, and saturated, trans fat and cholesterol separate from the Total Fat. What do you think?
I wasn’t excited about the serving size change, however the law reads that the serving size has to be based on what people actually eat, not what they should eat. As I told a nutrition colleague, the serving size change makes for “job security”, as your serving size needs to be based on your body not a food label!
Vitamin D and Potassium are welcome additions and I’m grateful to see something other than a percentage listed. It’s definitely more useful in grams or micrograms. That being said I think we need to continue to see Vitamin A and C, which are removed, as these are nutrients required in the Child Nutrition Act. Listing them on the label will help many a small school cook in writing a menu to meet the requirements.
Added sugars on the Nutrition Facts panel is great to see and thank you to CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) for providing comments and research for Added Sugars to be added. Just so you know; sugar alcohol is not included in this list. And if it’s less than .5gram the added sugar will read 0, just like trans fats. So, I will continue reading the ingredient list.
Now just how many of you use the %DV (Daily Value)?
I know I never do! 2000 calorie diet is not how most of us think about our daily food choices. Personally I listen to hunger and satiety and encourage you to do the same. I kept track of foods consumed, exercise and calorie trends on My Fitness Pal when I needed to lose the menopause weight. I found it was all about portions of grains and portions at evening meal! I have never found the %DV useful information on a food label. What do you think?
Although I understand why the macro nutrients (Fat, Carbs, Protein) are listed in grams; for most consumers I’ve always felt that calories of macro nutrients would be a better measurement to use.
I don’t use the Nutrition Facts label. I do use the ingredient list and would like to see it in a larger font size.
Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts with me. Post a comment. Also let the FDA know which design you like the best, and how you feel about the proposed changes. Food label changes are a process so it will be some time (about 2 years) before manufacturers will be required to make the change.
1.  Share if you use the Nutrition Facts label and how you use it.
2.  Share which label you want to see on the food package or other packaging changes.
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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Johna512 June 4, 2014, 11:42 am

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    • I’m really glad that the blog post was helpful to you. My name is Carole Farina (RDN/LD) – the writer of this website and am happy to be of service. If you haven’t already – sign up for the 3 Steps to Great Meals on the website, you may find it useful to.

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