FDA Considering Nutrition Label Changes

Researchers are asking whether updated nutrition labels could help decrease obesity rates

Some mornings we'll pick up something at the deli (like, a prepackaged cookie), look at the nutrition label, and think, "Yes! Only 100 calories!", only to realize that the cookie counts as two servings.

Turns out, many people are fooled by the more-servings-per-package trick, which makes people think products are healthier than they actually are.

Luckily for health advocates, the FDA might be bringing the 20-year-old nutrition label in for a makeover. After commissioning a study to determine how nutrition labels can change to help reduce obesity rates, the FDA  is considering increasing font sizes for calorie numbers, as well as nixing "serving sizes.'

Instead, the FDA is considering only providing nutrition information for the whole package, after research found that consumers had an easier time with package-only nutrition labels.

Researchers surveyed 9,500 adults, having participants look at 10 different food labels presenting nutrition information in a variety of ways. According to Amy M. Lando, who co-led the study with Serena C. Lo, consumers are too lazy to use math and figure out the real nutrition facts per container when they're based on serving size. And when they do attempt the math, mistakes still happen.

"The nutrition facts label is only one tool that can help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices, but it is a valuable tool, so it's important to continue exploring ways to support effective use of the label for these purposes," Lo told LiveScience. If this means less math in our lives, we're down.

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