A shopper is considering between two soda brands on the supermarket shelf. The label on the larger bottle says there are 150 calories; the smaller bottle says 200 calories. The one with the fewer calories may seem the obvious choice—but other factors—like serving size—may actually make it a poorer choice. For shoppers looking for the healthiest options, the answers are all on the label.
However, nutrition labels can be very confusing, often leading the consumer to miscalculate calorie counts. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration finalized a makeover that would make reading these labels easier. Now that upgrade has been delayed until 2020 because of lobbying by food and beverage manufacturers. According to Mindy Haar, Ph.D., RDN, associate dean of Undergraduate Affairs, and Lorraine Mongiello, DrPH, assistant professor, in NYIT School of Health Professions, that decision will have negative implications. The two discussed food labels, policy, and more in a Facebook Live session on December 13.
More than 110 million Americans have at least one or more chronic diseases associated with poor diets. “Knowing what’s in the food you eat is going to help you make better choices,” said Haar. Mongiello added, “In fact, four of the leading causes of death in this country—heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and stroke—are all associated with diet and can be reduced by reducing our waistline. That is what the new labels were designed to do.”
Watch the video below for more of their discussion.
Read more from Mindy Haar in her op-ed that appeared in The Hill.