In today’s fast-paced society, consumers often reach for nutrition bars when looking for a healthy on-the-go snack on the run or at work. A new study in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFT) found that partially replacing canola oil with fish oil in nutrition bars can provide the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids without affecting the taste.
Producers have been hesitant to incorporate fish oil into foods because it tends to give off a fishy taste or smell, therefore requiring additional processing steps to eliminate these unwanted qualities. However, some brands of cod liver oil supplements or liquid in a bottle contain lemon flavoring and don’t have a fishy taste, even when a teaspoon is drizzled over a salad. One example of fish oil that doesn’t smell or taste very fishy is Carlson Labs – Cod Liver Oil Lemon Flavor. It has a distinct and pleasant lemon flavor.
Fish-oil fortified nutrition in oat or soy-based snack bars: Omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower triglyceride levels and may help with arthritis
In the study, four levels of fish oil were evaluated to determine consumer acceptance of fish-oil fortified nutrition bars. The results showed that oat and soy-based nutrition bars fortified with the lowest replacement level (20 percent) of fish oil did not affect consumer acceptance or purchase intent, according to the September 25, 2012 news release, “Nothing fishy about fish oil fortified nutrition bars.”
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are known to lower triglyceride levels and may help with rheumatoid arthritis. For more than 70 years, IFT has existed to advance the science of food. The nonprofit scientific society with more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries, brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit the IFT site.
Single-larger-portion-size and dual-column nutrition labeling may help consumers make healthful decisions, reports Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
In another study from Philadelphia reported in January 23, 2013, scientists looked at the Nutrition Facts label that was introduced 20 years ago. The Nutrition Facts label is only one tool that can help consumers make informed food choices. Check out the site, How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label.
The FDA’s Nutrition Facts Label provides consumers with important information about what’s in the food, including: the serving size, the number of servings in the package, the number of calories per serving, and the amount of nutrients for each serving of a packaged food. However, research has shown that consumers often miscalculate the number of calories and the nutritional content of products that have two or more servings per container but are usually consumed in a single eating occasion.
Two nutrition labeling changes could have the potential to make nutritional content information easier to understand: 1) dual-column information that details single serving and total package nutrition information, and 2) declaring nutritional information for the entire container.
New study looked at consumer’s accuracy using modified versions of the Nutrition Facts label: Is it trustworthy and helpful?
Amy M. Lando, MPP, and Serena C. Lo, PhD, of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MD, conducted an online study with more than 9,000 participants to measure consumers’ accuracy in using modified versions of the Nutrition Facts Label and to assess their perceptions of how useful, trustworthy, and helpful the label was. Check out the site, Key to Choosing Healthful Foods Using the Nutrition Facts Label.
Says Ms. Lando, according to the January 23, 2013 news release, Can changes in nutrition labeling help consumers make better food choices? “FDA commissioned this experimental study to look at whether different ways of presenting the serving size and nutrition information on the Nutrition Facts label might help consumers. In particular we were interested in studying products that have two servings per container but that are customarily consumed in a single eating occasion.”
Study participants evaluated nine modified Nutrition Facts labels and the current label format for four fictitious products (two frozen meals and two grab-and-go bags of chips). The labels were classified into three groups. The first group of labels used a single-column format to display information for products with two servings per container; the second group used versions of a dual-column format to display information for products with two servings per container; and the third group used single-column formats that listed the contents of the product as a single, large serving.
The study team also tested whether changes in formatting, such as enlarging the font size for the declaration of ‘Calories,’ removing the information on the number of calories from fat, or changing the wording for the serving size declaration, would be helpful to consumers in determining the calories and other nutrient information for a single serving and for the entire package.
More accurate assessment of the number of calories or amount of fat and other nutrients per serving and in the whole package would be great
Study investigators determined that participants could more accurately assess the number of calories or amount of fat or other nutrients per serving and in the entire package when a single, large serving per container format or a dual-column format was used. Check out the site, Nutrition Facts Label Images for Download.
“This research is just one step in understanding how some potential food label modifications might help consumers make better decisions. Ideally, we would like to see how these labels perform in a more realistic setting, such as in a grocery store, with actual packaged foods as opposed to large labels on a computer screen,” concludes Dr. Lo, in the news release.
The Nutrition Facts label is only one tool that can help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices, but it is a valuable tool so it’s important to continue exploring ways to support effective use of the label for these purposes.” For example, if you want to know more about trans fats, check out the site, Talking About Trans Fat: What You Need to Know.
Check out the audio podcast on the labeling tested, the results, and implications of the study
In that audio podcast accompanying the study, Ms. Lando and Dr. Lo discuss their study methodology, the labeling they tested, and study results and implications. Also, regarding health and well being based on nutrition choices, you may want to read the article from the FDA at the site, Eating Healthier and Feeling Better Using the Nutrition Facts Label
Examples of some facts from the website of the FDA’s Nutrition Facts Label show that more than 75% of the sodium you eat comes from packaged and restaurant foods, according to the FDA site, Sodium: Look at the Label. The Nutrition Facts Label on food and beverage packages is a useful tool for making healthful dietary choices. FDA offers informative education materials that provide practical tips for using the label to reduce sodium in your diet as well as other nutritional health-related tips.
Check out the sites such as, Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables and Fish, How to Understand & Use the Nutrition Facts Label, and Using the Nutrition Facts Label: A How-To Guide for Older Adults. Older adults may benefit from using nutrition changes to help slow down certain conditions of aging in situations where nutrition can be of help in managing conditions, according to the FDA site, Using the Nutrition Facts Label: A How-To Guide for Older Adults.
For children, teenagers, and families, see the site, Kids ‘n Fiber — Video. Children and teenagers as well as teachers or parents may be interested FDA sites such as, Make Your Calories Count or Questions & Answers on Make Your Calories Count. It may inspire some students, teachers, or parents for developing a science project for school assignments.
For children, there’s the Spot the Block Campaign, an award-winning outreach campaign that challenges tweens (ages 9 to 13) to use the Nutrition Facts Label (the “block”) to make healthy food choices. With engaging content, parent information, and grassroots outreach, kids and families across the United States can Spot the Block.
Videos about the FDA’s Nutrition Label
You can view some of the FDA’s nutrition videos such as The Food Label and You, Eat for a Healthy Heart, or Read the Label. Also there are informative sites from the FDA’s nutrition videos for consumers such as Trans Fat Now Listed With Saturated Fat & Cholesterol.
Many shoppers are not familiar where hidden trans fats could show up in foods they never realized were made using trans fats such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oils put in some ready-to-eat pie no-bake crusts you find on various supermarkets shelves where you put in your own filling and chill instead of baking the crust.