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The FDA Is Failing at Helping Americans Make Healthier Choices

The FDA Is Failing at Helping Americans Make Healthier Choices

If knowledge is power, then offering consumers information about what’s in the food they eat is clearly a smart way to empower everyone to defend their health and the health of the nation—physically and economically. Unfortunately, several nutrition-related government decisions have reduced Americans’ ability to stay informed about what’s in the food chain, endangering the health of you and your family. To counter the devastation these policy changes will trigger, it’s even more important to be an informed consumer and not to get tripped up by hidden nutritional minefields that our legislators are allowing to be buried in our food chain.

Establishing food labeling regulations
The FDA established a food labeling regulation, with a deadline for implementation set for July 26, 2018. This regulation called for nutrition labeling that made it easier to see calories/per serving info and—for the first time—it would let you know how much added sugar you’re getting in every serving. Unfortunately, it was announced that implementation of the regulation is suspended indefinitely.

Why this is a bad move:

  1. One study found that to return to the pre-obesity epidemic weights Americans enjoyed in the 1970s, kids would have to cut 350 calories a day from their diet while adults needed to slash 500. The label changes would have given you more knowledge of portion sizes and calorie counts, and when to replace obesity-creating-calories with slimming fruit and veggies.
  2. Americans eat about 67 pounds of added sugar a year. Knowing just how much added sugar you’re eating can help you say no to foods that come with sugar bombs. It also might encourage food companies to reduce the amount of sugar they pump into their products.
  3. The price tag for obesity and excess-sugar consumption is staggering: In 2016, obesity alone racked up $150 billion in healthcare costs, while excess sugar consumption body-slammed that number, jacking our healthcare industry payouts to $1 trillion annually according to a 2013 Credit Suisse Report.

Understanding what’s in your food
You have to assume responsibility for understanding what’s in your food and how much you should eat—or if you should eat it at all. Avoid highly processed foods and opt for fresh whole foods.

Research shows eating just two and a half servings of fruits and veggies daily (more than many people get) is associated with a 4 percent reduction in risk of cancer and a 15 percent reduction in the risk of premature death. And eating 10 portions (1.76 pounds) daily of fruits and veggies is associated with a:

  • 24 percent reduced risk of heart disease.
  • 33 percent reduced risk of stroke.
  • 28 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • 13 percent reduced risk of cancer.
  • 31 percent reduction in premature death.

Discounting calorie counts on menus is dishing up trouble
This May, one day before chain restaurants would be required to post calorie counts on their menus, the FDA suspended the implementation for another year. A sad day for the FDA; a bad day for America.

Why this is important: Average Americans consume 33 percent of calories away from home—and usually underestimate how many they’re consuming. Putting the info clearly on the menu would shatter false assumptions.

Your move: When eating out, stick with the simplest preparations of dishes—you’ll get fewer hidden ingredients loaded with calories, fats and sugars. Get sauces and dressings on the side.

Other short-sighted moves: There are also roll-backs on school lunch quality: No more need to add veggies in school lunches and there’s been a reduction in the required amount of whole grain foods being served.

We gotta ask: If implementing and strengthening just a few regulations could save untold suffering, thousands of lives and trillion of dollars, why wouldn’t people entrusted with public health policy want to do that? We give the FDA director an F on what he is doing for food.

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