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MetabolizePMD: Why the Food Label is a Lie

Lifestyle & Wellness | Facebook Live Recap | MetabolizePMD

In the early 1990s, the Food and Drug Administration pushed for a mandatory food labeling law. The goal was to be transparent with consumers about what is in their food to help them eat healthier. And thus, the food label as we know it today was created.

But it's not as transparent as you think. In this video, Owings Mills health coach Yvonne Bull discusses why the information on your food labels may not be accurate and what you should look for on a label. 

(Having trouble getting the video to play? Get troubleshooting tips here.)

Can you trust the information on a food label?

Not entirely. The food labeling regulations from the FDA allow for a 20% margin of error. For anything that says there is a certain amount of carbs, calories, or sugars in it, there could be up to 20% more. Also, some items, such as "artificial flavors" are not included in calculations for the total percentages listed on the label. When reading food labels, be sure to remember the number is likely more of a ballpark range, and not an exact number. 

Are the percentages on a label helpful for tracking daily consumption? 

The percentages listed on the label are based on a 2,000-calorie per day diet. If you look at a label, based on a diet of 2,000 calories, pretty much anything looks good. The FDA instituted a guideline that anything under 20% was acceptable, and it is fairly achieve to keep those numbers under 20% if it is based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. 

But everyone is different. You may not consume 2,000 calories per day. You may expend more energy during the day. You may expend less energy. Because of this, going by those percentages on the food label may not give you accurate information about your daily consumption habits. 

How to pick the right foods? 

Focus on informing yourself of what you eat. One rule of thumb is if you get beyond five ingredients, and if you can't pronounce what's in it, you probably don't need that item. 

About MetabolizePMD

MetabolizePMD is a new wellness program at PartnerMD. By focusing on weight management and the science behind it, MetabolizePMD will help participants pursue and achieve metabolic wellness through the latest in healthy eating. Learn more about MetabolizePMD here