There is a high chance that you already know how important it is for you to get familiar with the facts and figures are written on the pack of every food you pick off the shelf because those pieces of information are great for your health.
The reason the current nutritional fact label was introduced in 1990; it was meant to serve the purpose of informing Americans about the nutrients and ingredients contained in the foods they eat and to verify any health claims the foods might make.
Now with the expected makeover to the nutrient fact label’s design and some of its nutritional information by the year 2021, this appears to be the right time to ask important questions about the current nutrition fact label.
We should be asking questions like; do these labels help people make better choices? Do people even understand it enough to make proper and effective use of it?
Is there a chance that it may be leading people astray or even fueling eating disorder? This article is designed to answer some of these questions so that we all can better understand what we are dealing with. Let a take a quick look at the pros and cons of having these labels
1. PRO: What you see is honestly what you get
In almost everything we do in life, one key ingredient for success is honesty and transparency, and that includes the food we eat.
Having the nutrition fact label is like having a food truth serum that tells you all the facts about what exactly you are getting from consuming the food. You can rely on the information provided because the government had made giving consumers reliable information on the nutritional value of foods compulsory in many countries.
Once we can become serious about finding out what exactly our food contains, we just might discover how healthy and enlightening that will be.
Paying attention to the nutrition information on the packs of every food we buy should become culture is we want to be mindful of what goes into our bodies.
CON: There is little or no education on how to properly read these labels.
While we have established the fact that being able to read nutritional facts is healthy and beneficial, the labels can become useless to us if we do not understand what we read.
All over the world millions of consumers find nutritional fact labels difficult to understand, they have no idea what exactly to look out for. Thus the whole thing becomes misleading and almost impossible to interpret.
It is difficult to find people who have ever say down to an education session on how to read these nutrition fact labels, and for this reason, we find ourselves going straight to shop for the very things we should avoid.
Take for instance, when a diabetic patient goes shopping and checks out the nutrition fact label, he goes straight to look for the sugar content instead of the amount of carbohydrate the product contains.
Nevertheless, we need not ignore the fact that even though we understand what these labels say, nothing changes if you do not put all that information or knowledge to use.
A study has shown that even restaurant menus that contain nutritional fact information do not make dinners change their minds and opt for healthier options on the menu.
Sometimes a dinner might want to eat something healthy, but when he sees a juicy burger or some other less healthy food that smells and looks great, the motivation to eat healthily might just die on the spot.
2. PRO: The whole truth (or some iota of lies) in advertising.
The detailed information that is boldly written on the package can go a long way to debunk any false health claims that the producers may have made.
Perhaps the cereals you have been buying claim to be high in protein whereas that is only true when you add about eight ounces of milk. Or you buy a food that says there’s just a pinch of salt but the sodium content is so high you wouldn’t want such in your diet.
Reading and understanding the nutritional fact information can tell you the truth about all those hyped sales languages that are designed to make you buy without thinking.
Once you can tell the difference between what food contains and the claims made in the front of the pack, you can easily take control of what you eat and what you believe from the adverts you see.
CON: The nutritional fact information is usually a little abstract.
The downside is, the information on the labels can be confusing, and that makes it difficult for you to determine how to measure serving size correctly.
Alot of people including myself have no idea what 50 grams of some nutrients should look like in reality and our diet. This has led many dieticians to advise their clients to consider more accessible measurements. Because most people cannot measure correctly, they decide just to eat as they feel is right and hope they are on the right track.
3. PRO: This information can be beneficial to people with some health conditions.
Nutrition fact labels can be a lifesaver especially to an individual who are dealing with health problems that will require a change of diet.
Many people are told the number of certain nutrients that may be unhealthy and the amount that is just perfect for their health.
For example, a person living with kidney disease will need to monitor their sodium intake, and a person living with diabetes will have to count their carbs and to look to the nutritional fact information will be very much helping.
CON: This information may just be another issue for disordered eating
Though nutrition information labels may be great and a nice way to help people watch what they consume, they can also carry a lot of emotional weight.
Individuals dealing with eating disorders may find out that paying attention to nutritional information may lead to an obsession over sugar, carbs, and even fat content of every food. The information on these labels can easily be taken out of context, so if a person has had a history with eating disorders it is best that such a person stays away from these labels.
The bottom line is that the effective use of these labels comes with proper education on their uses and how to understand them. With the presence of adequate knowledge comes the motivation to read and practice the right eating habits.
If you have any useful information on how to read and understand nutrition information or you have any opinion on the issue, please engage us by leaving a comment via the comment section, and we will be pleased to respond.