Okay, how many of you guys admit to being convinced by low calorie advertising, enough to actually buy the low fat, low calorie stuff? All of us do, and sure, it’s great that we’re calorie counting and doing our utmost to ensure we’re not overstuffing ourselves with calories.
But guess what?
When it comes to food labels, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
First the bad news: the food labels – and the food companies behind them – are conning us blind!
Sure the grams of sugar, salt, etc – all that information – are all pretty indicative and safe enough for us to go by. The problem lies with what the labels call a serving.
“So what?” you might be asking. The thing is the servings they actually mention on the food labels are a lot LESS than what we actually end up eating.
And that’s where the problem lies.
All the warm and fuzzy feel good feelings that come when we discover that one serve of Tostitos Touch of Lime is only 150 calories turn to shock horror…when we discover that that 150 calories only allows for a 1 ounce serving! That’s just six chips!
We think we’re eating less calories…when in fact we’re gorging ourselves!
In my opinion, the companies that produce the packaged foods we eat are conning us blind when it comes to calories per serve. It’s all because the serve they spruik on about is actually tiny compared to what we REALLY end up eating!
I mean, who eats just half a cup of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream? That’s what the actually serving size on their label ends up being! Sure, 270 calories doesn’t sound too bad…but really! Do you stop at just half a cup when it comes to your ice cream?
Of course not!
So now that I’ve hit you with the bad news, time for the good news in light of this food label debacle. The FDA looks as though they are actually going to do something about it.
Firstly, they are considering putting the calorie information on the front of a product. Sounds like a good idea on face value, right? Maybe, but if the calorie information is based upon serving sizes (and remember, already they are grossly underestimated), it could lead to people mistakenly thinking they are safe to eat up!
On the serving front though, the FDA admit that there really is a problem when it comes to the serving size definition. They understand that it needs to be more indicative of what the typical consumer really eats.
But there are critics saying that this could be interpreted as permission from the food companies to eat larger servings – making the obesity problem even worse!
So eventually, the food label confusion will be sorted. But what do we do right now, if we are really serious about controlling the amount of calories we consume?
Well, that’s where I think the really good news is.
My advice is to take control! Stick to raw foods and prepare your food from scratch. At least that way, you know exactly what you’re eating and how many calories! Invest in a good calorie counter book (calorie king), BodyBugg, or online tracking system and stick to your healthy meal plan. I also recommend a good kitchen food scale, measuring cup and measuring spoons so you can correctly measure everything you eat. Do all of this with the knowledge of what your daily caloric intake should be and avoid packaged foods wherever possible. Do this and you’ll have this food label problem licked!
Let us know the biggest food label tricks that you have found to help out other members from being tricked.