Nutrition Labels: Now With Less Death!

 

The FDA is proposing to change the "Nutrition Facts" that goes on foods. "The goal is to make people aware of what they are eating and give them the tools to make healthy dietary choices throughout the day,"  says Jessica Leighton, Ph.D., senior nutrition science and policy advisor in FDA's Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine.

But the labels will still cause avoidable deaths. Why? Because they tell people that healthy foods are bad for them and that unhealthy foods are good for them. 

Carbs: The good news, after decades where doctors helped cause obesity by insisting that a calorie is a calorie, putting grains at the bottom of the food pyramid (eat as much as you want), and rejecting study after study that proved that high protein low carb diets led to weight loss while low fat diets caused weight gain, the nutrition industry has finally come around to the idea that it's carbs that make us fat. 

The new labels acknowledge this truth by putting carbs up top. 

The bad news: label still treats the following things as bad for you: Salt Saturated Fat Cholestorol 

Salt: There has never been any strong evidence that salt is bad for you. Everything negative you have ever heard about salt is based one one flimsy fact: eating a lot of salt temporarily raises blood pressure. But you can't even feel that. You want to know if salt is bad for you? Here are the facts: salt is essential to live. All that water we're made of? Salt keeps it in balance. No salt=death.  Scientists have been trying to prove that too much salt harms people for 40 years and have come up empty. In fact, all the evidence points to the conclusion that our bodies crave salt until we have enough and then we stop eating it.

We naturally eat exactly the right amount of salt!

But the new labels, in boldface type, declare that salt is bad for you! This will kill people. Why? Because salt makes healthy food taste good. Recipes for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower that don't call for salt produce foods that many people find in edible. 

Making a food taste good is often a choice between adding salt or adding sugar. Salt is essential for life and sugar is basically poisonous. The labels make it seem like they are equally bad. Faced with a toss up, some people will choose sugar. Result=death. 

Next: saturated fat and cholestoral...

Update: To learn more about Salt, see, "Salt, We Misjudged You" by Gary Taubes in the NYT.

The Current Label

The Current Label

The Proposed Label

The Proposed Label