As the son of a Registered Nurse, I grew up learning the good habit of actively reading nutrition labels. However, knowing the importance of taking responsibility for your own nutrition does not change the fact that there's obvious room for improvement in the way that these labels present information.
Like the boarding pass, information-dense design requires an acumen for clarity and hierarchy. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is offering suggestions on our Nutrition Labels with this in mind.
Later this week, the White House is set to unveil the first update to FDA-approved nutrition labels in more than two decades.
While the new design is clearly a move in the right direction, one proposed change gives me pause:
“A lot of foods that common sense dictates are a single serving size, like certain snacks and beverages, are listed as multiple servings,” Margo Wootan, CSPI’s director of nutrition policy, explained to Politico, pointing out that Americans don’t always realize how much they’re consuming. Many brands attempt to make their products look healthier by listing the nutrition facts for an artificially small serving size, like listing a bag of M&M’s as two servings instead of one, but that’s often misleading.
I'm torn. Naturally, I believe it's ridiculous for most 20oz sodas to list at 2 servings (instead of 1), but I still consider it my responsibilty - not the government's - to be aware that 20oz of pure high fructose corn syrup is not the best nutritional choice. And for those that aren't aware, is a nutrition label really going to change their mind? ◉