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New food labels
Today the US Federal Government is likely to announce the adoption of the first set of new food labels in over 20 years. The implications for the food industry and consumers are amazing. This material is largely scanned from the online Washington Post article filed today February 27, 2014 by Ariana Eunjung Cha. The website to view the article is as follows:
According to Cha, the new labels will take years to be fully implemented includes several changes. These generally include more legitimate serving sizes (ie..larger), greater importance of sugar content, less emphasis on fat and an overall increased emphasis on calories.
For sugar the FDA intends to classify all sugar the same. Whether it be natural, or added sugar the two will be treated the same. According to the “Food industry groups have said that natural sugar and added sugar are chemically identical and that the body doesn’t differentiate between the two, so it makes little sense to break them out in this manner on labels” (Unnamed source as quoted by Cha, 2014).
Here is an example of the new labels:
Source (Washington Post August 26)
The belief is that American’s consume too much sugar and the new labels are designed to inform consumers and reduce that reliance on sugar as a food ingredient.
“Advocates of this change say that people will no longer have to do a lot of math to understand how many calories they are consuming. Of the 157 food types that are currently covered, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing to change the serving size for 17 percent of them. For instance, the serving size for ice cream, now half a cup, would become one cup” (Cha, 2014).
In reality except for serving size, there is likely little difference for most diabetics. Most of us are intense label readers, and we tend to have focused on the content of labels for years. Serving size however is likely to be a big change. Finally more realistic serving sizes will likely give us a better chance to interpret the meaning of the labels.