FDA: Time to update nutrition labels. Local experts give their wish list of changes.

Making those food labels easier to read

TAMPA, Fla. -  Nutrition labels on the back of food packages may soon become easier to read and understand.  

JoAnn Siegel explains one reason for the confusion.  "I'm looking at this can and it says serving size half cup and the can is15 ounces.  So, there's 8 ounces in a cup so it's almost two cups right here. So it's very deceiving."

Lauri Wright, an Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the USF College of Public Health, says "I think it's long overdue.  Twenty years since the last revision and consumers need more information to make better health choices."

The Food and Drug Administration is considering revisions right now and Wright has her own wish list of what should be included: "I think one of the biggest problems that continues in labeling is the portion sizes. Our portion sizes are much bigger on average than what is put on the label. So, consumers may think they're getting 100 calories in a yogurt but there are two servings."

Another thing on the wish list of many nutritionists to list calories right on the front so it's easier to see when an item is sitting on the store shelf.

While the revisions 20 years ago focused on fat, Wright thinks today we need to focus on sugar, especially in our juice drinks. "They have total carbs and total sugars listed,  but if we knew what was natural and what was simple sugars that would help you differentiate between a whole juice and a juice drink."

And finally, Wright says get rid of measurements in grams and start using teaspoons.

Shopper John Centinaro agrees. "Everybody knows what a teaspoon is but what the heck is a gram?  I don't understand that."

The FDA has sent their list of guidelines to the White House but no word yet exactly when they will be released and when manufacturers are ordered to be in compliance.

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