New Nutrition Labels Could Mean Less Confusion, Better Choices for Seniors
An initiative to revamp the nutrition facts label on packaged foods, making them less-confusing and easier to read, is entering its final stages, according to an article in USA Today.
For almost a decade now, the FDA has been working to make the labels more user-friendly. While their primary aim is to try and combat America’s obesity epidemic, the proposed changes would be a boon for caregivers and seniors trying to make informed decisions about what they are eating.
The proposed amendments to the current nutrition label include nixing percent daily value numbers and insisting on more rational measurements for serving sizes.
As they are currently presented, nutrition labels feature calories, fat, sugar, etc. amounts based on percent daily values of an average American’s diet. This is muddying the nutritional waters for elderly people who require different calorie and nutrient amounts than the “average American.”
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, encourages seniors to, “read the nutrition facts label for information on the sodium content of foods and purchase foods that are low in sodium.” While seemingly straightforward, this directive can be confusing to a senior or caregiver who must decide what foods are “low in sodium” based on recommended percentages that reflect the dietary needs of a younger person.
Many product containers also feature serving sizes that don’t make sense. For example, drink bottles often have labels that indicate there are 2.5 servings per container. These peculiar serving sizes lead to confusion among consumers of all ages and could present a particular problem for seniors with impaired vision or diminished cognitive ability.
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