It’s good to have a champion.
You know – someone willing to protect others or with enough power to actually push a change through. These days you never know where a champion might come from. They may even be someone not so helpful who suddenly shows up in a great way.
In the last few years the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has made a serious move to improve and refine the labeling of food and dietary recommendations that effect our everyday lives. The issue with the FDA in the past often came down to how the large industries, like Dairy and Meat, influenced their recommendations. With such influence could you trust what they proposed as a daily menu, especially the level of healthy foods that proposal contained?
However the FDA seems to be challenging this for the benefit of all. They continue to adapt the overall “food pyramid”, which looks more like a graphic of a plate these days, as well as the labels placed on food products. The changes so far go a long way to shift the situation for the consumer.
For those of us who read food labels, it is not always clear what the manufacturer is representing and how committed they are to our overall health. This is just a fact of life these days as honesty is not always the best policy. We welcome anything that forces these manufacturers to provide accurate information.
For example, manufacturers are required to list the amount of Trans Fats in a product on a per serving basis. If this number is under a certain percentage, it does not need to be listed. So we saw manufacturers simply change the number of suggested servings in a package, so that the math worked in their favor and they did not need to list Trans Fat amounts.
Such is the way of things.
This current news from the FDA feels promising. In the last few days the FDA upped their recommendations regarding the labeling of sugar in products, especially sugar added to a product. We’ve talked about this here at Organic MD before, but this new development provides further encouragement that the FDA is on the right track with this particular food component.
Products are required to list the amount of sugar in a serving of that food. Soon the packaging will need to reflect the amount of added sugar not naturally occurring in the product. As you might remember from previous posts, a common practice with many food manufacturers involves adding additional sugar to a product through corn syrup or other sweeteners. By breaking this down a consumer can see how much of the sugar in that product is natural to the ingredients, and how much is added in.
Now the FDA wants labels to include the percentage of the recommended daily intake (percent daily value) those added sugars represent out of a 2000 calorie diet. The recommendation states that no more than 10% of the 2000 calories, 200 calories or about 50 grams, should come from added sugar. Having this kind of precise labeling aids in the consumer understanding how a product effects their overall intake every day so they keep harmful items to a minimum.
This new proposal remains open to the public for comment for the next 75 days. We encourage you to support this. We find that when people comment clear and focused support or concerns for an FDA proposal those comments become incorporated. A 15 page rant does not, so make your comments and thoughts direct and easy to read.
Learning how to navigate the complex system of food products and their ingredients can become a full time job. If you live a busy life, taking the time to look through these details may feel like more work than you have time for. Any help we can get, the better. The hope now falls on these suggestions becoming established practice for the future.
We feel energized that the FDA wants to help us make a difference in the pursuit of our wellness. Are they perfect? No. The system at the moment has flaws. Yet the issue is less about the flaws and more about the changes being made. The changes may prove to provide the consumer stronger leverage to make better choices, and push the manufacturers to adjust their practices. This alone feels worth the effort to support them.
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. If you do leave a comment on the FDA website, tell us about your comment and thoughts. Your insights help the rest of us.
As always – To Your Health.
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