Sunday, August 05, 2012

The FDA Makes Sure Food Labels Are True?

I was reading through the USDA's pages on Nutrition for Older Adults and came across this brochure:
Eating Well As We Age

It was put out by the FDA. This was interesting:
Read Food Labels

Look for words that say something healthy about the food. Examples are: “Low Fat,” “Cholesterol Free,” and “Good Source of Fiber.”

Also look for words that tell about the relation of food to a disease. A low-fat food may say:

“While many factors affect heart disease, diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of this disease.”

The words may be on the front or side of the food package. The FDA makes sure these words are true.
Labels on food products are a real bag of tricks. A cereal, such as Froot Loops, can say it's high in fiber but if it's also high in sugar, which won't be boldly advertised, it's not a good choice. Cheerios got away with saying for years that their puffed and processed oats lowered cholesterol, which they don't.

I don't fault the FDA. They would be more effective if they were properly funded. After all, it was the FDA who finally called Cheerios on their cholesterol claim. But I would probably leave this entire section out of the pamphlet, unless it was referring to the Nutrition Facts label (which for many seniors is impossible to read). There's too much controversy here.

By the way, that top image is from the FDA's brochure. At the lower left, they're depicting the choice of canned fruits and vegetables when fresh are no longer an option, which is a great idea. It's better than not choosing them at all. Some people depend on canned food, which is why it would behoove us as a society to get the Bisphenol A (BPA) and other nefarious chemicals out of can linings and make sure the food that's in them is as healthful as possible.

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