Using Nutrition Labels

New food labels for food and beverages were proposed by food and drug administration (FDA) in the Federal Register March 3, 2014 but deadlines for comments have been extended several times producing the agency’s inability to publish a final rule for required label changes. Of particular interest is the proposed change on the label where added sugars are clearly displayed to allow consumers to identify calorie- and sugar-dense products. Serving sizes need modification because the current labels represent standards from the 1980s instead of consumption patterns today, especially when the full container is consumed [14].

The revised nutrition label will help bariatric surgery patients look at serving size, calories, fat content, and added sugars in a new way.

  • • Serving size will better reflect what a “normal serving” is instead of ice cream at 1/2 cup when a cup is a more usual amount than the consumer’s scoop.
  • • Calories are noted in a bigger font on the label.
  • • Calories from fat have been deleted but the focus is on type of fat in the food since not all fats are created equal.
  • • Added sugars are listed directly on the label to provide a comparison of natural sugar versus added sweeteners.

Unfortunately, the food industry will use the “added sugar” listing on the nutrition panels to their advantage in confusing consumers about “natural” sweeteners. Consumers are recognizing sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, and coconut sugar so these are going to be used as a replacement for sucrose. Blends of coconut sugar harvested from the coconut tree blossoms and water-extracted stevia called CoCoSweet is one of the new sweetener choices for food processors. Another stevia sweetener called EverSweet is being used in low-calorie products. Neither of these products are natural sweeteners. They are highly processed products obtained from fermentation methods used to entice consumers into eating and drinking foods that do not belong in a healthy diet [15].

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