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Remember the New Nutrition Labels? Here’s Why They’re Good…and Maybe Not-So-Good April 1, 2014 by admin As you might know, there’s a new nutrition label in town—or at least a newly proposed label. The new one would include more information about added sugars, rely on more realistic serving sizes, and also fold in facts about vitamins that impact chronic health and disease. According to Michael S. Fenster, M.D., author of Eating Well, Living Better: The Grassroots Gourmet Guide to Good Health and Great Food : “Our current nutrition labeling is the same as that implemented in the 1990s, except with the 2006 addition of trans fats information. It’s based on nutrition data and eating habits from the 1970s and 1980s.” Obviously, Americans’ eating habits have changed a bit since then. So Fenster says there are definite pros to the possible new label—but also some cons. Take a look: new-nutrition-label The Good: Noticeably bigger, bolder calorie call-outs. Fenster says that being aware of calories helps guide you to think about the concept of “energy in/energy out”—so that you’re more aware of what you’re buying before you actually buy, which is a big deal for anyone who’s trying to control calorie intake. The Maybe Not-So-Good: “Basing the value of food primarily on calories oversimplifies the evaluation process,” Fenster says. “An energy drink may have zero calories, but it’s not better for you than an apple, which may have 100 calories. We cannot overlook nutrition.” The Good: Serving sizes would be based on real data about the portions people typically eat. For example, says Fenster: “A serving of ice cream is expected to increase from a half cup to a full cup, and a one-serving muffin would be 4 ounces instead of 2 ounces, reflecting the obvious fact that people generally consume the whole scoop of ice cream and the whole muffin.” The Maybe Not-So-Good: “Food producers may simply change the size of prepackaged portions to skirt the rules,” he says. “Industry experts suggest some food manufacturers may just reduce the package size to make their labeling more seductive. When food is parceled into smaller packages, the price per unit usually increases—it becomes more expensive for consumers.” The Good: The new label will list “added sugar.” Whether it’s pure cane sugar, corn syrup, honey, or sucrose, it would be listed as one listed value, says Fenster. “This is good because it starts to get into the quality and composition of the food product—at least indirectly. Many public health experts say ‘sweet creep’ has been a major contributor to obesity, certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes,” he says. The Maybe Not-So-Good: “This will likely be wildly controversial, prompting aggressive lobbying efforts that may have already begun,” he says. “The Grocery Manufacturers Association and other industry groups note that the current label already includes the total amount of sugar in the product. The food industry argues that natural sugar and added sugar are chemically identical and that the body doesn’t differentiate between the two. However, a significant amount of research shows this is not completely true.” So what are your thoughts on the newly proposed label?

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