Home > Uncategorized > Before You Take Another Bite…

Before You Take Another Bite…

image from John Crowther

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is leading a national debate over requiring food manufacturers to put nutritional facts on the front of packages. At the same time, the FDA is finally beginning to deal with the reality that food serving sizes do not reflect American eating habits. When serving sizes were created in the early 90s, the FDA used data from studies about American eating habits in the 1970s and 80s.

Let’s be real- Nobody is obese because they have trouble reading nutrition labels and serving sizes. However, it doesn’t help. Nutrition labels are misleading at best. Why do we have an organization like the FDA if it is not responsible for protecting our interests? Maybe this is more up the Consumer Protection Agency’s alley. Regardless, if this country wants to make any strides in its fight against obesity, it better wake up.

Tell me why it’s “right” to require health-warnings on cigarette packages, but not on artificial cheese sprays and doughnut boxes? Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, yet there are few meaningful restrictions on advertising in the food-industry.

Food-industry packaging claims are incredibly misleading. Sure, we can spout the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true- it probably is”. But, there are cereals marketed as “a healthy breakfast” with more sugar in them than a can of soda. Subway’s plain turkey sub doesn’t sound like such a bad lunch option, until you find out the sandwich contains your daily allowance of sodium. I’ve stood in the cereal aisle for huge lengths of time simply trying to decipher nutritional facts to find a choice without seven-syllable ingredients and buckets of sugar. The FDA needs to reign in food manufacturers and give Americans a WAKE-UP CALL!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    I think any food that has over 50% of your daily amount of anything, be it sodium, fat, or sugar, should have a warning label on it… Michelle Obama said yesterday that if we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we do anything about the obesity in this country?

  2. Emily B
    February 11, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Ashley, I love you. There should be warning on donuts and fast food. Processed cheese out of can (gross). It puts the culinary world into shame. Buying some thing on the dollar menu might be nice and cheap but how about those doctor bills for high blood pressure, heart attacks, or strokes. Don’t forget the 17 million Americans who have diabetes. People give smokers such crap but what about the “overeaters”. They are costing our country way too much money. Michelle Obama is right that we have to get the junk food out of our schools. We also cannot have any more cuts in physical education programs.

  3. sar
    February 12, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    That’s really interesting – I didn’t realize that serving size information was gathered from the 70’s. Great article, once again.
    PS – that picture reminded me of the time on vacation when you stormed the pretzel time, and dragged me out of line before i could order.

  4. February 16, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Your post was very thought provoking- and brought up another related issue in my mind. I think it’s also important to bring “food politics” into the discussion and comment on the abundance of cheap, disastrously artery-busting fast food restaurants, especially in low-income communities. It’s true that nutrition facts are often inherently misleading on food packaging beyond items in fast food joints, but this whole “war on obesity” concept will not work if availability to healthier options are still limited in many areas.

    Poor people are more likely to be overweight as a result of their options. If a parent with a limited budget in an urban area (without a car) has a choice between buying a double cheeseburger off the dollar menu for her child, this may seem a lot more appealing than splurging for a $4 bag of organic lettuce. Even in Hartford, there are certainly impoverished areas with an abundance of fast food joints and no grocery store for miles. Access and affordability are key here.

    It’s just interesting to consider how urban poverty and obesity are so closely tied in the American fast food culture.

    • February 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm

      Interesting point Em. It’s crazy to think that this is the FIRST century in world history where there is a correlation between obesity and poverty.

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