Monday, October 02, 2006

Nutrition Labels: A Must Read

news you may not know

Label Me


Ever vigilant, Food Patrol Man rushes through Union Station, his bullhorn blaring, the crazed look of a crusader painting his bloodstained eyes. "Read the labels, people. You have the power! It's basic math..." Then, a simple misstep and he's carried away by a hoard of marauding fifth graders plunging toward the Deep Fried Donut stand. A faint "You have the power" echoes as he tumbles, then disappears from sight - forever.

According to a recent study conducted by Vanderbilt University, Food Patrol Man may be a bit of an optimist. They found that close to one-third of study participants were unable to correctly interpret nutrition labels. Confusion comes in many flavors. The most common mistake is to misinterpret the serving size. So, for example, say a serving of soda is 100 calories. A serving - in this case, just 8 ounces. That means your 32-ounce Jumbo Jolt is a hefty 400 calories. Not such a bargain after all.

Consumers are clamoring for easier labels, more reflective of their actual eating habits. Why can't a two-pack of cupcakes list the calories for the entire package? Nutritionists fear adjusting the labeling to reflect larger portions will entice an already obese nation to abandon what little willpower it currently exercises.

While the battle rages, you may want to check out the Nutrition Facts information provided on Mayo Clinic's website. It's quite a fascinating graphic, fully interactive, that provides a decent primer on reading and understanding food labels. Alas - in the absence of our faithful friend, it may be the best we can do.

For more, see CNN's Serving size a pitfall for label-readers


Post a Comment

<< Home