Friday, November 21, 2003

This blog message contains 3.5 posts: The FDA may start requiring companies to include the nutritional content for an entire package of food instead of just for the bite-size servings they get away with now, according to The Wall Street Journal. We've all seen this problem on a 20-ounce bottle of Coke with its label saying it contains 100 calories per serving, only to find out one bottle equals 2.5 servings. Of course, we just chug the entire bottle and its 250 calories.

The most ridiculous example I've heard is the Pam cooking spray, which flashes a label "Fat Free Cooking" even though it's pretty much an entire can of fat. Checking the back on the nutrition label shows no fat, no calories, no nothing. That's because one serving is equal to spraying the can for one-third of a second, or 0.266 grams. Federal rules allow any food product with less than half a gram of fat per serving to be advertised as "fat free". Most of us, however, coat a skillet for several seconds.

At the same time, it's sad that we're relying on the federal government to compute elementary-school math for us. The nutrition labels are helpful for those people who need to watch their diet, for health or medical reasons. But the government can only do so much to cure the obesity problem in this country. Eat what you like, but get some exercise, too.


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