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Fave Four

food_labelMany public health and nutrition experts have advocated a variety of changes to the current standard food label.

From listing calorie information for entire packages commonly consumed in one sitting (i.e.: 20-ounce bottles of soda) to differentiating between naturally-occurring and added sugars (so consumers can know how much sugar is added to yogurt or dried fruit), the proposed changes would absolutely be helpful.

I have thought of one tweak, however, that I haven’t heard anyone mention yet:

The Food & Drug Administration should stop mandating that values of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron be listed for all products.  Instead, they should ask food companies to list the top four vitamins and minerals a particular product contains — and the recommended intake percentages in which they are present.

Of course, as is the case now, food companies would have the choice of listing more than four nutrients if so desired.

My main gripe with the four nutrients currently listed on food labels is that it often results in very healthy foods coming across as nutrition duds.

Brown rice, for example, contains practically zero grams of calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C, but is a wonderful source of other vitamins and minerals — consumers should know what they are!

“But those four nutrients are supposed to be on the food label because they aren’t consumed in sufficient quantities,” some of you may rebutt.

True, so if a consumer does not see calcium on a food label, they will know that particular product is not a good source of the nutrient.


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