Confession: I sometimes read food labels and make believe the portion I'm eating fits the nutritional information listed for a much smaller portion -- like for 10 or 12 fewer pretzels than I'm actually inhaling. For those like me who don't always exhibit common sense and self-control, the Food and Drug Administration wants to make it easier to not be a total glutton and to actually pay closer attention to what we're putting into our bodies. The FDA has proposed several changes to food labels, including updating info about serving sizes to reflect how much it believes we actually eat, removing the "calories from fat" column, adding information about the amount of sugar that's added to a product, and even blowing up the font for the number we all dread reading: the calorie count.
Hmmm ... something tells me the real-life results of these changes may not be what the FDA had in mind ...
First, let's have a look at the old food label, or what we're currently seeing on food, which is the photo to the left, alongside the new one the FDA has proposed:
Here are the 5 major changes proposed by the FDA and what might just happen as a result:
CHANGE #1: Calorie count has been blown up so big it can be easily spotted by people living in other galaxies.
RESULT: Grocery lines become longer and grocery stores become even more crowded, as shoppers pick up their favorite items and immediately drop them back on the shelf when they see how many calories that cup of cereal contains.
CHANGE #2: Previously they gave us a calorie and nutrition count for the amount of ice cream we should be eating. Now the FDA will require that all foods that can be consumed in one sitting (such as the most delicious ice creams known to man) contain labels that reflect both how many calories, grams of fat, etc. exist in the recommended portion, as well as for the entire damn thing.
RESULT: Breakup food will NEVER be the same again. As you sit on the couch, nursing your cookie dough ice cream, you suddenly catch sight of the label. You've nearly polished off the pint, which means you've consumed enough calories to last you three weeks, according to new label. You drop the spoon on the floor in horror and cry yourself to sleep.
CHANGE #3: "Calories from fat" will be removed from the new label because research has determined that the "type" of fat present in a product -- saturated versus unsaturated, etc. -- is more important than how much fat it contains.
RESULT: Absolutely no change since something like 1 percent of the population even knows what this means.
CHANGE #4: Labels will include how much sugar has actually been added to a product.
RESULT: No one is ever going to buy another carton of juice again. Ever. Same for applesauce, most cereals, and bottled tomato sauce. In fact, just play it safe and start that organic garden on your fire escape now because you're never going to want to buy anything at the market again.
CHANGE #5: Information about vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium will be prominently declared.
RESULT: Thoughts that will run through your head: Holy cow, I really should drink more milk, shouldn't I? Because nothing I eat has any calcium whatsoever. Same with potassium -- better stock up on bananas. And does any food on earth have vitamin D? Make note to plan vacation in Hawaii.
How do you feel about the proposed changes to our food labels? Do you pay close attention to nutritional labels?