Monday, February 8, 2010

"FDA Weighs Update to Starndard Serving Sizes"

Have you ever purchased a small snack pack or an instant lunch and thought, "okay, this doesn't look too deadly..." only to realize that just half of that tiny package is a serving size? If that's not deception, I don't know what is!

So is anybody else with me when I say it's about damn time that the FDA revisits the concept of serving sizes versus how Americans actually eat? To get the full scoop, read the article published in the Times today.

Nutritionists and FDA officials are conflicted over how helpful publishing nutrition facts on the front of packages and listing more accurate serving sizes will actually be: will the labels dissuade people or confuse them? Is it sending a subliminal message that the FDA expects us to eat more? And when analyzing Americans' eating habits, is there a better way than surveying people, as most of us tend to underestimate how much we eat?

It's tough to say, especially since food habits die hard, and by and large, Americans have a reputation of making bad food choices. In this instance, surveys certainly aren't the most reliable source of gathering information. Maybe grocery stores should post pamphlets about what a serving size is (i.e. a serving of meat should be the size of your palm)? I see that as a less viable option in the crappy grocery stores you find in poorer neighborhoods.

When it comes to something like eating habits- and as the Times exposed in the past, people will still always go to places like McDonald's because it's cheap- community involvement might be needed. Community centers should also focus on educating the public on dietary choices and helping parents choose healthy meals for their children. School lunches should also reflect appropriate serving sizes of healthy foods.

As we all already know, there's A LOT that needs reforming when it comes to national dietary standards. I'll still be curious as to what criteria the FDA will use to revise serving sizes. More to come on that.

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