Today in harsh reality checks: The FDA has officially proposed an update to its nutrition labels, featuring larger, bolder, more in-your-face calorie counts and actual serving sizes. Read: the serving sizes people actually consume. Because let’s be real, you do not only eat 15 tortilla chips at a time. No human does.
This marks the first update to packaged food labels in 20 years. Suffice to say that in that time, eating habits have changed. (We coined the term “obesity epidemic,” and some reports indicate that 42 percent of us will be obese by 2030.)
So it makes sense that the Obama administration wants, as First Lady Michelle Obama writes in the press release, “that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family.”
Photo credit: Food52
But the reality is that no one eats only half a cup of ice cream (the Haagen Dazs suggested serving size), so there’s no way you’re only consuming 290 calories at a sitting. (Did no one else have the pint-a-day ice cream plan in college? Anyone?)
For years we’ve been in the delightful position of ignoring proposed serving sizes and calories, and happily scarfing a whole bag of something that purportedly is supposed to be split into two portions.
Herewith, a few of the worst offenders in nutrition label lies:
Photo credit: Nissinfoods.com
Mac ‘n’ Cheese
How much of that boxed mac ‘n’ cheese do you eat? Half? The whole thing? A third? You have some crazy self-control over there, because those little boxes from Kraft are supposed to deliver three 1/3-cup servings of 400 calories apiece.
Photo credit: fritolay.com
Thanks for spelling this one out for us, Lay’s; each serving is a mere 15 chips, so there’s actually one and a half servings in each of those tiny little bags at the deli. Yowza.
Photo credit: Flickr/Chia777
Packaged Kale Chips
Speaking of the Trader, if you are downing supposedly healthful kale chips, know that, again, a serving size is only an ounce of kale, so each little 2 oz bag has two servings. That brings the fat tally up to 18 grams, rather than 9. Sadface.
We’ve talked about Oreos before. We all grew up eating them. Did you know that a serving size is two cookies? Two Oreos? TWO. That’s it. Not 10, not 6, not even three, which is where a sane person would stop.
Apparently this new proposal is a good thing for people like us. We’re gonna take a walk around the block and breathe deeply now.