Wednesday, January 20, 2016

1593 Nutrition Labels

1593 Nutrition Labels

Nutrition laws have been around in some form since the 1200s.  Back then, an English ordered bakers to stop using some vegetables in their dough.

In this country, we’ve had labels since 1990, a key but unheralded accomplishment of the 101st Congress and the administration of George HW Bush.

Some new revisions are in the pipeline, projected to let us know with even more clarity what we’re eating. And in principle, that’s a good thing.  After all, we really don’t want plaster of paris in our white bread, now do we?

The food industry is no fool. It wants us to eat what we like.  So it long ago hired a costumer to satisfy its customers. Oh, and regulators.

If there’s MSG in your food, it has to be labeled.  But if MSG is a “processing agent” it doesn’t.  What, they flush out the MSG and the “process” is over?  Yeah, right.

Here are some of the names which this headache chemical extracted from seaweed goes by these days:
Hydrolyzed or textured vegetable protein and yeast extract.

But that’s not the worst of the label shell game.  The worst thing is portion size.

Let’s look at a bag of chips.  Total fat: 10g per serving.  How big is a “serving?” Lays tells us “about 15 chips.”  This from the company that used to advertise “bet you can’t eat just one.”

Ten grams is not terrible.  But what does “about” mean?  Is it ten? Is it 20?  Chips are different sizes, so there’s some justification for that vagueness.

What about the cottage cheese label that says a “serving” is “about four tablespoons?”

But wait.  It gets worse.  After they finish about- ing, they get even fuzzier.  How many servings per container?  

In the case of some snack foods, you’ll see figures like “2.5.”

So, X number of fat calories in one serving.  But you just ate the whole bag.  You didn’t? C’mon. Of COURSE you did. So ten grams in a serving is fine, but you just ate 25. And you’ll do it again and again.

Knowing the industry, always with our health and wellbeing its first priority, they will make it even tougher to figure things out.

Eventually you’ll find a can of soup that has 2 ⅝ servings.  Now there’s a project for you.  Figure out just how much soup you put in the bowl for the label to be accurate.

They have people who stay up all night thinking up stuff like this.  And they are brilliant people.  And clever.  And there’s a reason they do their work in darkness.

-No potato chips were hurt in the creation of this post.
-Contains no MSG. (We flushed it out after processing.)
-Contains peanuts.
-Contains wheat.
-Made in North America (But we won’t tell you which country.)
-External use only.
-Caution, contents may be hot.
-Do not read if allergic to Wessays™ or any of its ingredients.  Side effects include nausea, anger and drowsiness.
-Member FDIC

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to
© WJR 2016

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