Thursday, October 14, 2010

Read between the lines, or at least the back of the box!

Are you a sucker for buying a product because of the health benefits listed on the front of the package? Healthy catch words like whole grain, fiber, and vitamins are all over the front of our cereal boxes, pastas, canned goods, even chips and other junk foods! Every time we fall for it, we are being the good consumers that the food industry hopes we are.

The Institute of Medicine released a report on Wed stating that food companies should focus on labeling the nutrients most responsible for obesity and chronic disease on the front of their packages. These of course are already listed on the back of the package or side nutrition bar, but who wants to actually read what they are eating? It's much better to put our full trust in the food industry that they won't feed us something bad for our health. (Insert sarcasm here)

Will you find yourself picking up that same package of "healthy" chips if it is blaring terms like calories and saturated fat? Hmmm.

The Institute of Medicine is working with congress and the FDA to standardize labeling on food products. I'm going to be optimistic that a change will be made soon. In the meantime, don't be blind to the nutrients that you are putting into you body...or not putting in! Take an extra 30 seconds, turn the package over and find out what's in there!

You can find a recent New York Times article on the topic here: Group Seeks Food Label That Highlights Harmful Nutrients

and the Institute of Medicine report here: Report at a Glance

In Health,


Joanie Johnson, HC

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