Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Make mine a double

There is an article in the NY Times, here, discussing a possible move by the government to change some rules for food labeling to make portion sizes more clear. While I agree it is a problem that a company would label an apparently single serving package with a calorie count that does not match the contents I can't agree with everything in the article. According to the article consumers "may also have trouble seeing it (serving size), where it usually appears in small type in the Nutrition Facts panel on food packages. In surveys conducted by the foundation, many more people say they look at the calorie number than at the serving size on which it is based." My problem with this is that we are not expecting people to be personally responsible for what they are eating. Am I supposed to believe that posting an honest calorie number on the package is going to have an effect on someone who can't take the time to even look at the serving size now, I doubt it. If you don't care enough to look at the serving size, or ingredients, or whatever on a package then I think it makes no difference if the labeling is correct or not because people won't read it anyway. The issue is not that the food is marked wrong the issue is that we eat too much of it and we sit on our asses and watch TV all day long. We evolved to be active creatures not sedentary, our metabolism does not work like that of a sloth. The government is afraid to recommend to people an amount of exercise that will truly help improve their health because they think it will somehow cause some to become discouraged so they dumb down the suggestions but somehow this is going to change peoples behavior. Don't get me wrong, I think there should e honesty in labeling but we also need honesty in what we can expect that to achieve, probably nothing in my view.

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