(ABC News) – Whether on a bag of cookies or a box of high-fiber cereal, one thing you will find on any packaged food in your local grocery store is the nutrition label.
The FDA has required the recognizable black and white nutrition facts panel on nearly all packaged food since 1990.
But are these labels really helping Americans make healthy choices? Too often, the answer may be no.
A team of researchers at the FDA, NIH and Tufts University surveyed the nutritional facts knowledge of more than three thousand people.
When they gave these subjects an ice cream nutritional label, nearly one in four couldn’t say how many calories there were in the entire container.
Likewise, more than two out of five could not calculate the percentage daily value of calories in a single serving.
The researchers also finding those who had the least understanding of these labels tended to admit higher intake of sugar-sweetened soda.
The FDA already planning a nutrition label revamp.
But since these changes are still months away, the best thing you can do is to be a more informed consumer.
Learning what these labels mean, and making sure they matter when it comes to what goes in your shopping cart.