I'm curious as to everyone's opinion on the Nutrition Facts Labels. Do you find them user-friendly? What is the first thing that you check on the label? If you had to redesign it, what changes would you make?
I agree about the serving size. If they can't package things individually, I think they should state it as :IF YOU EAT....1 CUP....OF THIS PRODUCT, YOU ARE CONSUMING: 120 calories, 2 grams total fat, etc.
IF YOU EAT THE ENTIRE BOX...10 CUPS...YOU ARE CONSUMING:
1200 calories, etc
I think the weight of the food has no purpose on the nutrition facts label. It is VERY confusing to consumers and frustrating to the educators. I can't count how many times I say, "Unless you walk around with a scale, this number means nothing to you; ignore it!"
The %DV have got to go as well. If they can add a little chart that shows the targets for each nutrient (ex: fiber: aim for 25-35 grams/day, sodium: limit to 2300 mg/day), that would be helpful. But please, get rid of those %'s!!
I don't mind the labels, as I've gotten used to them. I do hate the idea that companies use the serving sizes to their advantage by sometimes making them so small that no one will actually eat that much.
Diana, I agree putting things in individual containers would make it easier, but it's not practical. People have to be a little responsible for themselves, and look at the serving size and it's relationship to the package.
Amy, I disagree about the %. I like having them there, as it gives me a better idea of each food item for my total day. For instance, right now, I'm looking at a bottle of ketchup, and the sodium level is 190mg, or 8%DV, for the serving size of 1T. Personally I hate ketchup, (a friend of mine who stayed with me for a while loves it), but I know many people eat much more than 1T. when they add it to their food, so that sodium is going to add up quickly.
I like your idea of putting the nutrient targets on the label. It would definitely be of assistance.
I think sodium is the one exception because the RDI for sodium is the same for all people (<2300 mg), but for something like 'total fat' or 'carbohydrates', this varies so much by the individual's needs. It's just more numbers that confuse people. If everyone was able to think, "Ok, this is for 2000 calories, and I need about 1500, so I should multiply this number by .75...". I just don't think this is going to happen.
I had a patient that claimed he found a cereal that had more fiber than total carbs, so when he subtracted the fiber out to calculate the net carbs, he was left with negative carbs! I knew he was talking about Fiber One, which has 14 grams of fiber( which =58% DV), but he was taking 22 grams total carbs minus 58 and thinking that for each serving, he was in a carb deficit! It was funny but frustrating. I had a visual of Pacman, going through the blood and 'eating' those extra carbs so that he had a negative value ;)
I would have to say that it is the actual serving size I would like to see as the prominent feature. Not if you consume 100 grams you get x amount, then later it tells the actual serving size.
For most labels I like it to show the sugar and carb count, and make sure to list any chemical ingredients----not hid them in a strange and unknown name.
well if you buying Doritos, or Velvetta or Chees Whiz i wouldn't bother reading them. I check Sodium levels, ingredients for "peanut butter (jk) corn syrop, MSG, anything that ends in a t e, m i n e. Knowing many things you can't control and trust.
I have never really cared for the %s because they are based on a 2000 calorie diet, not something I do on purpose or on a daily basis. For my purposes I would like it to be straight forward - number of servings per container and serving size of course; the nutrition information per serving. Amy, like you I would rather see the target for the nutrients, i.e. sodium, carbs, fat, etc. Too complicated.
My daughter, now 15, tries very hard to eat right and many times I see her trying to figure out what she's eating based on the nutrition label, she gets frustrated and gives up. I know the feeling.