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Anderson, Ind., Herald Bulletin: Nutrition facts may change our eating habits


August 24. 2013 12:13PM
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You are what you eat, they say. They also say knowledge is the food of the soul.The Food and Drug Administration, however, might not be as philosophical in its latest proposal. But the agency does seem to be practical.The FDA is working to revise the nutrition facts label, the notice found on food packaging that breaks down the fats, sugars, nutrients and salts in the food we eat.There may likely be more accurate serving sizes, stronger emphasis on calories and a lesser role in listing daily percent values for fats, carbohydrates and sodium.The overall philosophy is to help fight the national obesity epidemic.But the proposed changes should better reflect what guides our eating habits. How many times have we asked what constitutes a portion? Maybe that definition of a “serving” will be understandable for once. And, if the labels start emphasizing calories, we may be better equipped in planning meal and weight control.Better labels will redefine “comfort food.” Nutrition labels were introduced by the FDA in 1992; the information was confusing. But the info is there for a reason -- made even more practical by the obesity problem in America that has had a dramatic increase in the last 20 years despite the labels. About one-third of adults are obese; 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese. You'd think nearly 20 years of labeling food would have helped. Americans have become what they eat.The FDA's proposal is a good start to helping consumers comprehend and appreciate what goes into the body. Further steps should include a listing of the preservatives in food, the amount of processing it has undergone and where ingredients come from (more than 75 percent of the seafood and 50 percent of the fruit that Americans eat is imported).Following increases in obesity, the FDA's philosophy is sound. Instead of digesting what pleases us, it seems time for Americans to digest more nutritional knowledge.





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