About a week ago my doctor was going over the results of my “blood work” (an inelegant phrase, to be sure) from my latest physical. He said that my “good cholesterol” is somewhat low and my “bad cholesterol” is somewhat high.
Along with the printout of all the lab results, there was copy of a nutrition label. “Have you ever paid much attention to the nutrition label?” he asked me. “Sort of, not really... no,” I responded. Turning his gaze back again to the label, my doctor circled the score for saturated fat and advised me to “watch that number.”
In the short time since I met with my doctor, I’ve begin to notice nutrition labels more than I ever did before.
I’ve observed, though, that it is tougher to find food that I want to buy when I actually pay attention to the nutrition label. The bogeyman of saturated fats turns up pretty big in about every food I crave.
Or course, I instinctively know one food group that I can feel “safe” with is fruits and vegetables. I don’t worry about looking at the label because I know that nothing on that label for apples, berries or grapefruit will scare me. Even I know that there can be no saturated fat in raw carrots.
So my new awareness of nutrition labels may guide me toward a healthier diet, both with the stiff arm to high-saturated fat foods and the pull toward the safe harbor of fresh fruits and vegetables. Salads instead of fries, a baked potato instead of a burger, for example,
Even with my recent earnest efforts, I suspect my zeal for reforming my diet could be fitful and subject to failure.
Yet, having been advised by my doctor to “watch” the nutrition facts label, perhaps I will.
The FDA’s new design for nutrition fact labels was introduced with the idea that it can grab consumers’ attention and comprehension better than the current label. Perhaps. I rather think that, like everything else in life, nutrition fact labels aren’t important until they are. And - at least for the moment - they seem a bit more important to me.