Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Will new nutrition labels make us all thinner?

5 Comments

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Not to be negative, but I saw this headline: How much will new nutrition labels help fight obesity and I immediately said “not at all” (in my head because I was at work and our office is open-concept).

I know the new (American) nutrition facts panel is supposed to help curb obesity because they’ve made the calories so damn big but personally I think it’s not going to help anyone to lose any weight. If people are counting calories and trying to lose weight making them bigger isn’t going to make weight loss any easier. If someone’s not counting calories it’s unlikely that a big bold calorie count is going to prompt them to change their minds about their purchases. I also think the emphasis on calories is not beneficial to anyone.

Yes, lots of people find calorie counting helpful when they’re trying to lose weight. I still yearn for a simpler time when we didn’t need this information. When we didn’t rely to heavily on prepackaged foods that managed to jam in so many calories and so few nutrients. Personally, I think that, for the average consumer, the ingredients label is where they should be looking more often than the nutrition facts panel. The NFP doesn’t tell you anything about what’s in the food you’re potentially putting in your mouth. It just tells you about the artful mastery of the manufacturer who wants to make sure you buy into the charade of fortified highly processed products as healthy choices.

Putting calories front and centre puts a negative lens on food. It takes away from food tasting good, being pleasurable, and providing us with energy and puts the emphasis on guilt and shame. Neither of which are things we should be associating with food.

Rather than focusing our efforts on fighting against obesity we should be fighting for health.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

5 thoughts on “Will new nutrition labels make us all thinner?

  1. I so so so agree with you and I love your last note – for health, not against obesity. If people relied less on packaged, transformed foods it’d be a huge step forward. Now when I buy new (packaged) products I pretty much only read the ingredients list and I check sodium and trans fat contents, but I care very little about calories. I do like the addition of the “added sugars” line though.

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  2. I like the new labels, because I’m blind as a bat. I’ve been counting calories on and off for 47 years, and have lost 58 pounds since last fall counting calories (though I have made good nutrition a priority). I may be a dying breed though, and I suppose it’s only a matter of time before labels require net carbs for people who aren’t good at arithmetic. Thank you for a thoughtful piece. :)

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    • Good point about accessibility for people with limited vision. I hadn’t considered that. Of course, the rest of the label may be quite inaccessible to many.

      Congratulations on your efforts to make healthy eating a priority. I hope that you’ll have continued success with this.

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  3. Agree, and life’s just too short! 😁

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