Whenever I sell chocolate at one of our farmer’s markets, I always get customers that scrutinize the nutrition labels on the backs of our bars. What are they are looking for? Some nugget of nutritional rectitude that will confer edibility on the bar?
I’ve come to the conclusion that nutrition labels aren’t meant to educate people and help them make better food choices. They are basically a marketing scam designed to confuse and blind consumers to the truth. Really, who can make heads or tails of a nutrition label? Most American have no idea what a gram is – let alone a milligram. So, if a product has 3 mg of cholesterol per serving, and there are 14 servings in the box, and you’ve eaten a third of the box…what does it mean?? Ah! On the front of the box it says “30% less fat” or “20% fewer calories” or maybe “heart-healthy”. Now that I understand!
Those people that have learned to decipher nutrition labels are also buying into the scam. They really aren’t seeing the forest for the trees. They are so caught up in sugar, calories and trans-fat that they are failing to realize that the product they are holding is likely not even real food. Real food does not come with a nutrition label! There is no nutrition label on a cabbage or a flounder or a tomato or an egg.
I have a suggestion to vastly simplify nutrition labels - and actually make them useful to people. Here is my universal nutrition label. It’s just one sentence: “Not more than 10% of your diet should consist of products with a nutrition label.”