Addressing the New Nutritional Labels

In my opinion, I think the new label looks pretty much the same in terms of design. However, this is a good thing as it seriously contrasts with the product packaging. It’s kind of like screaming “I’m the serious side of the product!”. With this contrast, it is pretty impossible for one to miss the nutrition facts label. I also approve of the increased font size for the calories. It makes it much more unavoidable for people.

But the biggest change right now is the portion size. The serving sizes would be changed to reflect what people are usually eating in one actual serving. For me, I think I see something wrong about that. How much a person eats in one serving is very objective. I think that the should just put the recommended amount to be eaten in one serving for an individual instead of what an average American eats in one serving. By increasing the size of the servings to reflect the amount an “average” American eats, it’s allowing people to eat more. Unconsciously, people will justify themselves for eating that much because it’s what an “average” American would eat.

Rozin and colleagues found that yogurt containers in the United States are about 80% bigger than they are in France. Not only that, a medium sized french fries in the United States had 70% more fries than in France. As suggested, Americans are eating more calories than the French on average because the cultural norms for portion sizes are larger for Americans than for the French.

Instead, what needs to be changed is the attitudes people have towards food. In a study by Rozin et al., when American females were asked to suggest one word that is associated with “food” one of the top response was “fattening”, and yet it did not appear on the list from French respondents. What we need right now is more food education. As shown in Jamie Oliver’s show, there were kids who are having a hard time naming vegetables, and yet they can name most of their favourite junk foods.

What difference would changing the nutritional labels be if people do not know how to read it or even know of the importance of it? Instead of spending time changing the nutritional label, the FDA should focus on teaching children and adults about healthy eating. Much like sex, preaching abstinence from “bad” food does not work. Both children and adults alike need to be introduced to safe eating. ¬†We are always educating our kids about all the acute problems and disregarding other factors that will kill us in the long term. While drug use is aggressively educated into children, rarely do we see the dangers of sugar being educated in the same way.

 

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