Dear Future President,
In America today, any premade 'junk food' is available for just the fraction of the price of a healthier option. It is more accessible, as you don't even need to get out of your car to order those grease-filled french fries. The peanut butter cups and Doritos might taste amazing, but after all, they are engineered to be this way. However, in reality, they lack the needed proteins, fibers, and healthy fats that provide long-lasting energy throughout the day. Scientists fill that doughnut with just the right amount of sugars and artificial flavor, in order for you to want to eat doughnut after doughnut. Many drinks or foods pose as ‘more fit options’, saying that they are filled with fruits and veggies, so, in turn, the customer is lead to believe it’s a more nutritious option. I propose that we should create a label that leads consumers into making healthier and more intelligent decisions as they shop for their weekly groceries.
What do you see when you look at a nutrition label on let’s say, a bag of chips? It involves the serving size and then the total number of servings available. Following that, are the facts about calories, nutritional value, vitamins, and ingredients contained in the food. Yet, it doesn’t tell you things like the amount of caffeine or added sugars. For the ingredients the package does tell you about, it gives the amount in grams or milligrams in addition to a percentage. Many people in America don’t know how to read this due to our use of the customary system opposed, to the use of the metric system; many have no idea how many milligrams are in a single gram which causes additional confusion. Even if it has the percentage of the nutrients it contains compared to one’s daily needs, it doesn’t state if that is too much or too little in proportion to that single serving. A company called “Naked Juice” was recently sued due to “misleading consumers by suggesting that the fruit and veggie juices are primarily filled with ultra-healthy acai berry, blueberries, kale, and mango,” when in reality the product lines’ chief ingredients are orange juice or “cheap, nutrient-poor apple juice.” Center for Science in the Public Interest declares the juices’ “no sugar added” claim is misleading as well. It is suggesting that the sugar content of the juices is low, when actually it’s quite high — nearly as much per bottle as a 12-ounce can of Pepsi. Packages fool many people, they even can find the label confusing. I propose that we should change this part of the label by adding more information. Something as simple as adding the amount of caffeine or added sugars. Then the companies should color code the percentage based on if it is too high or low of an amount to get in the single serving. This, in turn, could make shoppers more aware of what they are ingesting and encourage consumers to find the truth behind the product. Customers would be inspired to make healthier choices, instead of reaching for that falsely labeled smoothie, filled with synthetic sugars as a substitute for vital nutrients.
If you move your eyes further down the nutrition facts and visualize the ingredients list. When you look at it, many times it’s very overwhelming; when it’s purpose is to do one simple task. Give you what the ingredients that it consists of, nothing more, nothing less.. Instead, it confuses the reader with unpronounceable, large words that are difficult to understand.The tendency is to use less commonly known names, for example, enriched bleached flour, but in reality it’s something almost everyone knows, like white flour. Additionally is that all the ingredients are in all capital letters maximizing the difficulty in reading and separating words. Buried under these unnecessarily complex words, these labels include “contains less than 2% of...” However, due to it looking no different than the rest of the text, it’s often difficult to find. Another section of the label that indicates the allergy information, is the same size as the rest of the text when it should be easier and more logical to read. The solution to these problems starts with formatting the words so that they are separately bulleted for each and also not in all capital letters. Next, the one interminable, long-winded section should be separated into 3 individual sections. There should be a single section for major ingredients, another for minor ingredients (or that it contains 2% or less of) and then a section that lists if it contains anything that is a main/ common allergy in people, such as nuts, milk etc. In addition, these sections should be simplified in order to be easier to comprehend.By doing these, allergens will be more evident, creating a lesser risk for someone to have an allergic reaction.creates a lesser risk for the person to go into anaphylaxis. I believe that if these recommendations are taken then we could increase the health of the general population.
Furthermore, there are issues with the fronts of packages on a product. The FDA monitors the front of the package much less than it does the nutrition label on the side of the package. This means the makers can put mainly whatever claim they want and have little studies and information to back it up. For example, many things say “ all natural, made with REAL (fill in the blank), supports immunity etc.” Recently the FDA updated their standards so many packages have some sort of basic nutrition facts on the front. Yet still, you can include something that reads “0g of Trans fat”, which sounds very appealing, but it doesn’t include that the product has 8g of saturated fats. I believe that the FDA should monitor the fronts of these packages just as much as the labels on the back. Eliminating this misleading advertisement of a product could inspire consumers to make better fitting choices for their lifestyle. It may not appear significant but when all of these choices are said and done a lifestyle change, big or small, can transform far-fetched goals into reality.
In summary, I believe the labels on our food and the packaging entirely needs to be changed. When companies make these changes it could cause a huge change in our diet as adults, which in turn would teach to the next generations the meaning of reading, understanding, and investigating labels. This small step can set off a chain reactions, making long-lasting and worthwhile impact to better our society for years to come. Mr./Madame. President, action needs to be taken and it is your responsibility as the new leader of country. The health of our nation is an urgent issue that must be addressed in the oncoming years of your presidency.
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Kuzemchak, Sally. "Junk food, why can't I quit you?" Choices/Current Health Apr. 2016: 9+. Student Edition. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.
"SPECIAL REPORT What the Label Doesn’t Tell You." N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2016