G’ day, Red Rabbit Friends and Family,
Some of our most popular blogs have focused on interpreting the myriad of different labels we find on our food products.
From the nutrition information on the back to the flashy marketing on the front, understanding what is fact from what is simply advertising can make for an overwhelming shopping experience for the average consumer:
When walking the supermarket aisles, many shoppers rely on the front of the package to assist with the product to place in their carts. Catch phrases like “Natural”, “Low-fat”, “Made with Whole Grain” are prominently printed to catch our attention. In fact, what we need to do is grab a package and flip it over to the back to check both The Nutrition Facts and ingredients list. While these can often bring confusion, it’s the best way to know what a food provides and what went into it. In recent years, nutrition guidelines and labeling have undergone several changes that can be a challenge to understand – which is why Red Rabbit has chosen to do a series of blogs we hope will bring some clarity to anyone who has ever taken a look at a label, only to quickly ignore it because there is just. so. much. information!
In 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) was passed, providing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the authority to require food manufacturers to include new nutrition labels on foods regulated by the FDA. According to the FDA’s website (www.fda.gov), its job is to make sure that food sold in the United States is “safe, wholesome and properly labeled.” Hmm, FDA...we’re not so sure how wholesome many of the foods on those grocery store shelves are...
This is where nutrition labeling comes into play: to check the validity of health claims made on that package of cookies (or any food item for that matter), everyone should refer to that tell-tale Nutrition Facts guide for the specified list of nutrients that are in each food. In addition, to know what exactly went into it, please read the list of ingredients. Both serve as a very useful tool in our decision-making when it comes to our health and the health of our children. It is best to choose the food made from a few whole, easy-to-read ingredients versus one with an ingredient list long enough to fill this blog!
For those of us who haven’t been doing our homework, don’t fret! In the coming weeks, we will break down some of the mysteries on food/nutrition labeling, including how to identify possible hidden allergens, sugars (by any other name is just as sweet!), as well as define what many of those “all-natural” and “organic” health claims mean.
Stay tuned for more Food Labeling myths debunked in our next installment, coming soon.