I read last week that the FDA may change nutritional labeling on our favorite foods. They want Americans to be confronted with calories and fat content right on the front of the packaging of the junk we eat almost every day. More, they want to change serving sizes.
At first, I thought the idea of changing serving sizes was a pretty darn bad one. The serving sizes on our nutritional labels currently are supposed to reflect suggested rations, but typically we eat double or triple whatever that suggestion happens to be. I thought that by changing the serving sizes to reflect what we actually eat, the FDA would be giving in and encouraging us to gorge ourselves. But apparently the intentions are much better than I initially thought.
What they want to do is give us accurate information about what we’re putting in our bodies. I figured out on my own, as a pre-teen, that the packages of Ramen I was eating were actually intended to be two servings, and so I doubled the calories on the package to see what I was really eating. But I was a pretty smart kid, and you probably were too. Unfortunately, some other people might not realize that they may be taking in a whole day’s worth of calories with a couple slices of pizza and a “serving” of chips and soda.
“Consider the humble chip: most potato or corn chip bags today show a one-ounce serving size, containing a tolerable 150 calories, or thereabouts. But only the most disciplined snacker will stop at an ounce. For some brands, like Tostitos Hint of Lime, that can be just six chips.” –NY Times
My personal suggestion is that we stop eating pre-made, pre-packaged foods and get back to cooking our own. Cooking our food makes for way tastier, way healthier meals. Even my favorite (and expensive) canned soups are lacking something in flavor if I don’t add my own spices to them, but how much better were my mom’s homemade soups? And how much healthier…? I will probably always use cans of tomato paste in my homemade spaghetti sauce; I just don’t have time to start with fresh tomatoes to make enough sauce for a meal! So I suppose we can’t get away from it entirely. That being said, I think the more accurate-to-life serving size information is a good idea. The next best thing would be publishing a book: Reading Nutrition Labels for Dummies.
What do you think? Is it a good idea or not? Do you think the FDA can actually enforce it and make companies change their packaging?