How to Improve Nutrition Labeling on Food

  • 2016-03-09
  • The Wall Street Journal

Health experts believe the way to get people to eat better is to tell them which foods are healthy and which ones aren’t. Nutrition facts panels—the little info-boxes on the back of food packages that outline calorie, fat, sugar and vitamin counts—are supposed to do that, but research has found that many people don’t look at them, and even when they do, they don’t help.

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a revision to the existing facts panel, which has been standard on most food products since 1994. The changes include a redesign to make calorie information more prominent, as well as a change as to what is considered a single serving size to reflect the growth in the portion sizes people eat in the last two decades. The hope is that the changes will reflect the latest nutrition science and help people make smarter choices as the U.S. faces an obesity problem.

Some researchers say the proposed labels are an improvement but still don’t make clear to consumers what the net value of a food could be. So they are devising alternative approaches. Here are some other ideas for a better label

Image Credit: US FDA / Wikimedia Commons