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What new or revised public policy/law would make it easier for people to maintain a healthy weight?

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Replies

  • Annie_01
    Annie_01 Posts: 3,096 Member
    Truth. In. Labeling. Stop letting food manufacturers get away with slapping "Natural", "Lite" and "Healthy" on crap foods and getting away with it because the FDA doesn't have even a minimal standard to use those terms. Serving sizes should be exact and equivalent to what a reasonable adult would consume (half a muffin? really?). Stop food manufacturers from using weasel words that actually mean sugar without coming right out and saying it, e.g. "barley malt", "dextrose" and "rice syrup". It's a constant game of cat and mouse with the junk makers dodging and weaving to stay one step ahead. Yes, it's the consumer's responsibility to educate themselves and read labels carefully, but raise your hand if you haven't been fooled at least once by a food maker's shifty tactics. And lastly, force manufacturers to limit the amount of sodium in packaged foods. Read the label on a can of Campbell's soup lately? They and many other brands we grew up with are poisoning Americans day in and day out. When heart disease is the #1 killer in this country, more needs to be done to cut down on the staggering amount of salt that's in everything we eat, from sliced bread to salad dressing to frozen meals and even chicken.

    Have you ever tasted soup that has no salt added...fairly uneatable. Chicken is labeled as to if it has had a sodium solution added to it. They sell chicken without the addition of sodium...you will pay more so you have to decide if it is worth it or not. For me it is since I have BP problems and water retention episodes.

    Most people don't read the nutrition labels and even fewer read the ingredient list. The info is there...we either choose to read it or we don't. Honestly, other than people that are intentionally trying to better their health, most don't care or most don't spend their time standing in a grocery store reading labels.

    Believe me though in part I agree with what you are saying. I get very frustrated with lack of products that are low in sodium and don't taste like cardboard. As a result I cook about 85-90% of my food from fresh produce and no sodium added chicken(that costs me a fortune every week).
  • ultra_violets
    ultra_violets Posts: 202 Member
    Annie_01 wrote: »
    Truth. In. Labeling. Stop letting food manufacturers get away with slapping "Natural", "Lite" and "Healthy" on crap foods and getting away with it because the FDA doesn't have even a minimal standard to use those terms. Serving sizes should be exact and equivalent to what a reasonable adult would consume (half a muffin? really?). Stop food manufacturers from using weasel words that actually mean sugar without coming right out and saying it, e.g. "barley malt", "dextrose" and "rice syrup". It's a constant game of cat and mouse with the junk makers dodging and weaving to stay one step ahead. Yes, it's the consumer's responsibility to educate themselves and read labels carefully, but raise your hand if you haven't been fooled at least once by a food maker's shifty tactics. And lastly, force manufacturers to limit the amount of sodium in packaged foods. Read the label on a can of Campbell's soup lately? They and many other brands we grew up with are poisoning Americans day in and day out. When heart disease is the #1 killer in this country, more needs to be done to cut down on the staggering amount of salt that's in everything we eat, from sliced bread to salad dressing to frozen meals and even chicken.

    Have you ever tasted soup that has no salt added...fairly uneatable. Chicken is labeled as to if it has had a sodium solution added to it. They sell chicken without the addition of sodium...you will pay more so you have to decide if it is worth it or not. For me it is since I have BP problems and water retention episodes.

    Most people don't read the nutrition labels and even fewer read the ingredient list. The info is there...we either choose to read it or we don't. Honestly, other than people that are intentionally trying to better their health, most don't care or most don't spend their time standing in a grocery store reading labels.

    Believe me though in part I agree with what you are saying. I get very frustrated with lack of products that are low in sodium and don't taste like cardboard. As a result I cook about 85-90% of my food from fresh produce and no sodium added chicken(that costs me a fortune every week).

    They have to do it gradually, yeah. And as far as I understand, some brands like Lean Cuisine actually have been working to scale back the amount of salt in their products. But it's frustrating to have to give things up that I know and love. Almost half my day's supply of sodium in one serving of Campbell's tomato soup. Not even the whole can, just one cup! Our palates have gotten used to an abundance of salt (and sugar) and it's definitely going to take time to make products healthier without the public turning away from them, but I hope it's possible.
  • Annie_01
    Annie_01 Posts: 3,096 Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This is about risk mitigation. Salt and sugar are cheap food preservatives, so if you want prepared food to hold shelf life this is the best way to survive transportation and temperature variations.

    Salt is preferable to botulism.

    There is nothing inherently unhealthy about salt or sugar. There is little objective evidence in support of any of the health scare over salt.

    Yet they manage to produce no salt added products. I have never gotten botulism from any of those products.

    I agree...nothing routinely unhealthy about sodium...unless it is. I can tell when I am not eating a lower sodium diet. My ankles swell up and my legs turn red. My blood pressure shoots up...my clothes are tight...etc etc. So the evidence for me is when my ankles swell up over my socks. Leaves some really ugly indentations.

    However, simply because I have problems with sodium I have never advocated for anyone else to limit it. It would be nice though if there were a few more options available to those that do need to and also a little easier to find. It would be nice if the grocery stores would give us a small section of low sodium items as they for gluten free people.

    Don't get me wrong...I like salt in my food...I would actually say that I love salt in my food.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,942 Member
    Annie_01 wrote: »
    Truth. In. Labeling. Stop letting food manufacturers get away with slapping "Natural", "Lite" and "Healthy" on crap foods and getting away with it because the FDA doesn't have even a minimal standard to use those terms. Serving sizes should be exact and equivalent to what a reasonable adult would consume (half a muffin? really?). Stop food manufacturers from using weasel words that actually mean sugar without coming right out and saying it, e.g. "barley malt", "dextrose" and "rice syrup". It's a constant game of cat and mouse with the junk makers dodging and weaving to stay one step ahead. Yes, it's the consumer's responsibility to educate themselves and read labels carefully, but raise your hand if you haven't been fooled at least once by a food maker's shifty tactics. And lastly, force manufacturers to limit the amount of sodium in packaged foods. Read the label on a can of Campbell's soup lately? They and many other brands we grew up with are poisoning Americans day in and day out. When heart disease is the #1 killer in this country, more needs to be done to cut down on the staggering amount of salt that's in everything we eat, from sliced bread to salad dressing to frozen meals and even chicken.

    Have you ever tasted soup that has no salt added...fairly uneatable. Chicken is labeled as to if it has had a sodium solution added to it. They sell chicken without the addition of sodium...you will pay more so you have to decide if it is worth it or not. For me it is since I have BP problems and water retention episodes.

    Most people don't read the nutrition labels and even fewer read the ingredient list. The info is there...we either choose to read it or we don't. Honestly, other than people that are intentionally trying to better their health, most don't care or most don't spend their time standing in a grocery store reading labels.

    Believe me though in part I agree with what you are saying. I get very frustrated with lack of products that are low in sodium and don't taste like cardboard. As a result I cook about 85-90% of my food from fresh produce and no sodium added chicken(that costs me a fortune every week).

    They have to do it gradually, yeah. And as far as I understand, some brands like Lean Cuisine actually have been working to scale back the amount of salt in their products. But it's frustrating to have to give things up that I know and love. Almost half my day's supply of sodium in one serving of Campbell's tomato soup. Not even the whole can, just one cup! Our palates have gotten used to an abundance of salt (and sugar) and it's definitely going to take time to make products healthier without the public turning away from them, but I hope it's possible.

    But Campbell's isn't even all that good, IMO. Why be a prisoner of the red'n'white can, when homemade(ish) is easy/quick to make, certainly tastier, potentially cheaper (per nutrient, for sure), more nutritious (per calorie, for sure), and we control the sodium content?

    Dollars are votes on food choices.
  • aokoye
    aokoye Posts: 3,495 Member
    edited April 2019
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This is about risk mitigation. Salt and sugar are cheap food preservatives, so if you want prepared food to hold shelf life this is the best way to survive transportation and temperature variations.

    Salt is preferable to botulism.

    There is nothing inherently unhealthy about salt or sugar. There is little objective evidence in support of any of the health scare over salt.

    Proper canning and other types of heat related preservation techniques are preferable to botulism. That doesn't have to mean salt. I, as a person who doesn't own any industrial appliances, can safely can beef bolognese sauce if when I'm able to correctly use a pressure canner. That I've done so and never gotten botulism wasn't because of the salt in the sauce. Reputable information can be found about that here.

    sigh I really do need to buy a pressure canner now that my grandma has gifted her's to one of my cousins.

    edit: I salt things like pasta water and some soups and sauces somewhat liberally. That's not because of safety, it's because as someone said above - chicken soup without salt is awful.
  • estherdragonbat
    estherdragonbat Posts: 5,283 Member
    ceiswyn wrote: »
    Truth. In. Labeling. Stop letting food manufacturers get away with slapping "Natural", "Lite" and "Healthy" on crap foods and getting away with it because the FDA doesn't have even a minimal standard to use those terms. Serving sizes should be exact and equivalent to what a reasonable adult would consume (half a muffin? really?). Stop food manufacturers from using weasel words that actually mean sugar without coming right out and saying it, e.g. "barley malt", "dextrose" and "rice syrup". It's a constant game of cat and mouse with the junk makers dodging and weaving to stay one step ahead. Yes, it's the consumer's responsibility to educate themselves and read labels carefully, but raise your hand if you haven't been fooled at least once by a food maker's shifty tactics. And lastly, force manufacturers to limit the amount of sodium in packaged foods. Read the label on a can of Campbell's soup lately? They and many other brands we grew up with are poisoning Americans day in and day out. When heart disease is the #1 killer in this country, more needs to be done to cut down on the staggering amount of salt that's in everything we eat, from sliced bread to salad dressing to frozen meals and even chicken.

    The FDA is considering definitions for "natural" and "healthy," but there is already a standard for when "light" or "lite" can be used: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=101.56

    Serving sizes are already based on what adults self-report eating of a particular type of food. If a muffin is 700-800 calories, is a reasonable person really eating the entire thing? Is our "reasonable person" an obese person?

    The ingredients you refer to as "weasel words" are actually real ingredients. Rice syrup is a real ingredient (I actually have some in my pantry right now). Describing all those things as just "sugar" is going to make it very challenging for people with allergies to pick their food (what if I can't have rice and the product with rice syrup just tells me it has "sugar"?).

    I don't want the government telling soup companies how much salt they can sell me. If I want a salty soup, that's between me and Campbell's Soup. I don't have high blood pressure or any medical conditions that require me to restrict salt.

    The problem with this is that self-reporting is notoriously inaccurate. People tend to portray a rather idealised version of events, rather than what they actually did. So while the majority of people might claim that they nobly and restrainedly only ate half of the 700-cal muffin, I'm willing to bet that most of them actually ate the whole thing.

    Or, their brain goes, "That was a bran muffin. Healthy. It had to be lower-calorie. Yeah, that's it. Because a healthy breakfast/afternoon snack can't possibly be that high. I bet that muffin was smaller than the bran muffin the person who created this entry had in mind. Or it had lower calorie ingredients. Why, I bet that bran muffin was really more like half a muffin!"
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,885 Member
    edited April 2019
    Annie_01 wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This is about risk mitigation. Salt and sugar are cheap food preservatives, so if you want prepared food to hold shelf life this is the best way to survive transportation and temperature variations.

    Salt is preferable to botulism.

    There is nothing inherently unhealthy about salt or sugar. There is little objective evidence in support of any of the health scare over salt.

    Yet they manage to produce no salt added products. I have never gotten botulism from any of those products.

    I agree...nothing routinely unhealthy about sodium...unless it is. I can tell when I am not eating a lower sodium diet. My ankles swell up and my legs turn red. My blood pressure shoots up...my clothes are tight...etc etc. So the evidence for me is when my ankles swell up over my socks. Leaves some really ugly indentations.

    However, simply because I have problems with sodium I have never advocated for anyone else to limit it. It would be nice though if there were a few more options available to those that do need to and also a little easier to find. It would be nice if the grocery stores would give us a small section of low sodium items as they for gluten free people.

    Don't get me wrong...I like salt in my food...I would actually say that I love salt in my food.

    I don't find it difficult to buy low sodium if I want. I mostly don't worry about it since I mostly cook from whole foods (have since my 20s, nothing about sodium) and get my chicken (and other meat besides fish) from a farm, but when I buy canned things I will typically look for low sodium/no added sodium all else equal, and it's generally available. Maybe different demands in different locations (I'm in the US, but a large city)?
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,885 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Annie_01 wrote: »
    Truth. In. Labeling. Stop letting food manufacturers get away with slapping "Natural", "Lite" and "Healthy" on crap foods and getting away with it because the FDA doesn't have even a minimal standard to use those terms. Serving sizes should be exact and equivalent to what a reasonable adult would consume (half a muffin? really?). Stop food manufacturers from using weasel words that actually mean sugar without coming right out and saying it, e.g. "barley malt", "dextrose" and "rice syrup". It's a constant game of cat and mouse with the junk makers dodging and weaving to stay one step ahead. Yes, it's the consumer's responsibility to educate themselves and read labels carefully, but raise your hand if you haven't been fooled at least once by a food maker's shifty tactics. And lastly, force manufacturers to limit the amount of sodium in packaged foods. Read the label on a can of Campbell's soup lately? They and many other brands we grew up with are poisoning Americans day in and day out. When heart disease is the #1 killer in this country, more needs to be done to cut down on the staggering amount of salt that's in everything we eat, from sliced bread to salad dressing to frozen meals and even chicken.

    Have you ever tasted soup that has no salt added...fairly uneatable. Chicken is labeled as to if it has had a sodium solution added to it. They sell chicken without the addition of sodium...you will pay more so you have to decide if it is worth it or not. For me it is since I have BP problems and water retention episodes.

    Most people don't read the nutrition labels and even fewer read the ingredient list. The info is there...we either choose to read it or we don't. Honestly, other than people that are intentionally trying to better their health, most don't care or most don't spend their time standing in a grocery store reading labels.

    Believe me though in part I agree with what you are saying. I get very frustrated with lack of products that are low in sodium and don't taste like cardboard. As a result I cook about 85-90% of my food from fresh produce and no sodium added chicken(that costs me a fortune every week).

    They have to do it gradually, yeah. And as far as I understand, some brands like Lean Cuisine actually have been working to scale back the amount of salt in their products. But it's frustrating to have to give things up that I know and love. Almost half my day's supply of sodium in one serving of Campbell's tomato soup. Not even the whole can, just one cup! Our palates have gotten used to an abundance of salt (and sugar) and it's definitely going to take time to make products healthier without the public turning away from them, but I hope it's possible.

    But Campbell's isn't even all that good, IMO. Why be a prisoner of the red'n'white can, when homemade(ish) is easy/quick to make, certainly tastier, potentially cheaper (per nutrient, for sure), more nutritious (per calorie, for sure), and we control the sodium content?

    Dollars are votes on food choices.

    Agreed (especially on the homemade soup point), and also if someone is bummed because the Campbells was to their taste, there's no reason to assume the no salt added Campbells would be as tasty to them.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    ceiswyn wrote: »
    Truth. In. Labeling. Stop letting food manufacturers get away with slapping "Natural", "Lite" and "Healthy" on crap foods and getting away with it because the FDA doesn't have even a minimal standard to use those terms. Serving sizes should be exact and equivalent to what a reasonable adult would consume (half a muffin? really?). Stop food manufacturers from using weasel words that actually mean sugar without coming right out and saying it, e.g. "barley malt", "dextrose" and "rice syrup". It's a constant game of cat and mouse with the junk makers dodging and weaving to stay one step ahead. Yes, it's the consumer's responsibility to educate themselves and read labels carefully, but raise your hand if you haven't been fooled at least once by a food maker's shifty tactics. And lastly, force manufacturers to limit the amount of sodium in packaged foods. Read the label on a can of Campbell's soup lately? They and many other brands we grew up with are poisoning Americans day in and day out. When heart disease is the #1 killer in this country, more needs to be done to cut down on the staggering amount of salt that's in everything we eat, from sliced bread to salad dressing to frozen meals and even chicken.

    The FDA is considering definitions for "natural" and "healthy," but there is already a standard for when "light" or "lite" can be used: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=101.56

    Serving sizes are already based on what adults self-report eating of a particular type of food. If a muffin is 700-800 calories, is a reasonable person really eating the entire thing? Is our "reasonable person" an obese person?

    The ingredients you refer to as "weasel words" are actually real ingredients. Rice syrup is a real ingredient (I actually have some in my pantry right now). Describing all those things as just "sugar" is going to make it very challenging for people with allergies to pick their food (what if I can't have rice and the product with rice syrup just tells me it has "sugar"?).

    I don't want the government telling soup companies how much salt they can sell me. If I want a salty soup, that's between me and Campbell's Soup. I don't have high blood pressure or any medical conditions that require me to restrict salt.

    The problem with this is that self-reporting is notoriously inaccurate. People tend to portray a rather idealised version of events, rather than what they actually did. So while the majority of people might claim that they nobly and restrainedly only ate half of the 700-cal muffin, I'm willing to bet that most of them actually ate the whole thing.

    It certainly has drawbacks, but my overall point was that manufacturers are basing it on information provided by the government. It isn't something that manufacturers are pulling out of thin air to trick us.

    I'd love to see improvements on the self-reporting, but this wouldn't be a new law or regulation. It would be a refinement of the laws already in place.
  • sammidelvecchio
    sammidelvecchio Posts: 791 Member

    [/quote]

    To add to this (because it's more or less what I was thinking), better bike infrastructure (this, for me, goes beyond "bike trails") and an overhaul on school lunch programs.[/quote]

    Tax breaks for bike commuting. For people who are putting less wear and tear on the roads, and not using up parking spaces - which people get into knife fights over.[/quote]

    You already get a tax break by not paying motor fuel taxes since not buying gas for bike commutimg.[/quote]

    lol wut

    Not paying a tax on an item I'm not consuming isn't a tax break. I could say you're getting a tax break by not buying marijuana in Colorado or Washington, that would be just as nonsense.[/quote]

    It kind of is though, because gas tax goes towards road &bridge repair, which bike commuters do use but they aren't having to contribute specifically to that portion of the tax that goes to that area. Bike commuters are definitely doing less wear and tear, but they're still using the roads.
  • tmpecus78
    tmpecus78 Posts: 1,206 Member
    edited April 2019
    T
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    shaf238 wrote: »
    Putting aside for one minute that people need to take more responsibility for themselves, mandating that food suppliers, restaurants, etc have to provide nutritional information would be the one thing I'd like to see.

    That's already required for the most part. It would be very burdensome for mom and pop establishments though and many of them would likely go out of business.

    Just curious- why would this be especially burdensome for Mom and Pop restaurants and put many of them out of business? They’re allowed to use the database method. It doesn’t have to be any harder than it is for us to fill out a recipe in MFP. It might actually help them to more accurately calculate the cost to make a portion when they look at the amount of each ingredient.

    For one thing, if actual legislation was enacted, I would have serious doubts as to them being allowed to use the data base method as that would be pretty loosey goosey for actual legislation. And really, what's the point of enacting legislation when databases are so full of absolute *kitten* for entries made by other users of the system? How much will they be allowed to be off? Would people even trust the stated calorie counts? I mean people already question the counts of restaurants who's food gets sent to a lab. Do they get fined for using bad entries to create their calorie counts? Do they get away with using entries that are erroneously low to make it appear that their menu is lower calorie? How is the FDA going to verify the calorie counts without that food going to a lab?

    Mom and pop restaurants already run on a very thin margin and many, if not most struggle to just stay open. As I stated in an earlier reply, this is extra time spent when owners of these establishments are already burning it at both ends, and time is money. It's irrelevant though because any such legislation would never allow for something so unscientific as using a random database to come up with calorie counts to assure the public of what they're getting. Having food sent to a lab is expensive and would put many of these places under.

    Beyond that, mom and pop restaurants are a pretty small % of the restaurant world and the overall food supply. I seriously don't think mom and pop restaurants are contributing substantially to the obesity epidemic. If you looked at it on a pie chart, mom and pop restaurants would be a tiny sliver of the overall food supply...why burden something so small with more bureaucracy? They already have to deal with a *kitten* ton of it already. The government doesn't typically enact legislation that makes things easier...

    I'm not sure where you are located, but this is already required in the U.S. for restaurants with 20 or more locations. The FDA website does state that they can comply using nutrient databases (USDA, cookbooks, etc.). No requirement to send food to a lab.

    Yup, that is correct. The company I work for produces indoor and outdoor print and digital content for restaurants all over USA and many other countries. Any chain with 20+ franchises is required by the FDA to now list calories for every item listed on the menu boards. Although I don't eat fast food, I personally feel it is nice to know the calories/macros breakdown of the food. I'm willing to bet that the average person walking into mcdonalds to get a super sized big mac value meal, doesn't give a scheet what the calories are. Some of the calories in some of these combo meals are daily caloric intakes of most people, its unreal.

    With that being said, I'm currently working on some menu graphics for a fried chicken chain restaurant. 7 Chicken Tenders, 1 side item, with gravy & a biscuit or roll, plus a 32oz drink. Caloric range (depending on the side item you choose and what beverage you choose) 1270-1858 calories.
  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,252 Member
    aokoye wrote: »
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    This is about risk mitigation. Salt and sugar are cheap food preservatives, so if you want prepared food to hold shelf life this is the best way to survive transportation and temperature variations.

    Salt is preferable to botulism.

    There is nothing inherently unhealthy about salt or sugar. There is little objective evidence in support of any of the health scare over salt.

    Proper canning and other types of heat related preservation techniques are preferable to botulism. That doesn't have to mean salt. I, as a person who doesn't own any industrial appliances, can safely can beef bolognese sauce if when I'm able to correctly use a pressure canner. That I've done so and never gotten botulism wasn't because of the salt in the sauce. Reputable information can be found about that here.

    sigh I really do need to buy a pressure canner now that my grandma has gifted her's to one of my cousins.

    edit: I salt things like pasta water and some soups and sauces somewhat liberally. That's not because of safety, it's because as someone said above - chicken soup without salt is awful.

    This isn't a concern with home preservation means, but critical in large scale production. I love canning and the ritual behind this. It is a wonderful exercise to create and preserve.

    Certainly not the only means, but certainly the cheapest. Vacuum sealing is very effective, but not cheap in large scale operations. Vacuum sealing + salt/sugar are what many large scale operations utilize to ensure risk is mitigated. There is also the matter of the container/closure device as plastic/polymer is not an air barrier, so vacuum sealing requires a more expensive primary barrier.

    This is largely driven by regulations now, so manufacturing with terminal heat and/or salt means you don't require a class 10,000 manufacturing floor. Manufacturing salt free likely means you'll need a class 1,000 or even class 100 floor, which requires more automation, increased air filtration, and increased cleaning protocol.