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Nutrition Labeling a Healthy Advantage

What's really in your food?
What's really in your food?(Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Have you ever been frustrated in an effort to make healthy food choices? Nutrition labeling can be a maze of confusing terms and chemical double-speak. The Food & Drug Administration is working on a plan to require food suppliers to make nutrition labels that are easy to read, without a chemistry degree.

Whether on a fixed income or simply trying to avoid empty calories, nutrition labeling benefits everyone. Consider sugar that currently masquerades under a pile of chemical names. Yes, the label says all the sugars, but its confusing. Proposed new rules would require total for sugar, no longer allowing this dangerous ingredient to hide. The same truth in labeling is proposed for fat content. Instead of "total fat", the new labels would be required to specify the portion that is Total Fat, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat. Indeed not all fats are created equal. Some fat content is beneficial but other types of fats are not. Knowing what type of fat is helpful for persons who need to lose weight or manage fat intake for medical reasons.

Nutrition labeling was a great idea when it was introduced 20 years ago. However, there have been many changes in the American eating habits and food products since then. Food labels are overdue for correction. The more we know about what is in food products, the better we can make informed, healthy choices.