98% healthy. 2% cupcakes.

Food Label Update


December 3rd, 2014

Understanding our food labels are one of the keys to eating healthy, especially on the go. Recently the FDA came out with exciting news about food labels. Starting mid-2015, pizza, popcorn, vending machines, and salad bars will have to start listing the calorie count on their menus. This is a huge step into helping consumers decide on healthy meal options while eating out.

It doesn’t apply to independent restaurants or food trucks, but does include chains with over 20 stores nationwide like Target and Costco. The other downfall is that the requirement is only for calories – no information on fat, sodium, or sugar content.

A recent study from the CDC found that almost 60 percent of adults use caloric information to guide eating choices on menus. Will this ultimately change behavior and reduce the two-thirds of Americans who are obese or overweight? We certainly hope so.

Here is a quick reference for interpreting labels on your next trip to the grocery store.

Choose: USDA Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane
Avoid: Natural, Grass-Fed, Grain-Fed, Free-Range, No Nitrates or Nitrites Added

Choose: Wild-Caught, Wild Fish
Avoid: Farm-Raised

Choose: USDA Organic and Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane Pasture-Raised
Avoid: Cage-free, Free-Range, Pasture-Raised

Choose: USDA Organic, Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified
Avoid: The Dirty Dozen List, GMO

Choose: USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, 100% Whole Grain or Whole Wheat
Avoid: Multigrain, Made with Whole Grains

Originally posted at Alliance Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Tiffany Lester