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FOOD LABELING

 It is known by the name of Nutrimental Information, and is the data contained on the label which appears on the container of many industrialized food products and indicates the amount of energy and nutriments contained in the product.

 The use of this label is nothing new. It has appeared on almost all products since 1988.

 The present popularity in the use of nutrimental information in many countries reflects what is happening in the international realm and is in itself a very interesting phenomena.

 The idea of its use, diffused by the authorities, is basically for the educational purposes to provide the consumer with elements for improved nutrition.

 Nutrimental information is a great help although it is not the miracle treatment for obesity.

 However this idea does not work as it was originally expected for several reasons:

It is a marketing strategy and not for informing.

The information in many cases is manipulated.

The information is not prepared for the understanding of the consumer.

The information is unfinished.

The information is confusing.

It is calculated within a parameter of 2,000 calories a day (perhaps your needs are higher or lower).

 The nutrimental declaration is voluntary and if made then it is an obligation to cite:

Energetic content.

Protein, carbohydrate and fat content.

Amount of sodium

Amount of any nutrient

The quality or quantity declaration of properties of some nutrients or ingredients that are regulated by other requirements.

 The energetic content should be expressed in K joules (or Kcal) and the rest of the components in metric units, by 100 g or per portion or per container if this contains just one portion. Vitamins and minerals may be expressed as percentage of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) and the standard daily allowance to be used is the FDA's recommendation.

 If it is decided to include the complementary nutrimental information, the criteria are:

 All or any of the following components may be declared: proteins, vitamins A,B1,B2,B6,B12, C,E, folic acid, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc and iodine, which may be expressed as % of the RDA, if an rda exists and if the content by portion is higher than 5% of said amount.

 The lipids (fats) may be specified as polyunsaturated fat (g), monounsaturated (g), saturated (g) and cholesterol (mg) per portion but all must be declared.

 All or any of the following components may be declared: sugar (g), stach (g) and dietetic fiber (g).

 It is unbelievable that the official norms' objective is to provide consumer with information and education, instead of making it easier for the consumer it is only complicating the understanding of the information.

 The first concept is the energetic content and in no way the calories or kilocalories. The calorie and, consequently, the kilocalorie is one of the units with which energy is measured but it is used less each time due to the international system of measures. The energy unit is Joule (J) or its derivatives kilo Joule (KJ) and mega Joule (MJ).

 The official norms establish that the energetic content should be measured in kJ, and, in parenthesis kcal; 1 kcal equals 4.18kJ.

 At the time of the definite redaction of the norm, some representatives of the industrial sector objected to the technical terms arguing that the consumers would not understand same and requested that kcal, carbohydrates and fat be employed. Even though the argument was lacking of objective basis, a major disagreement was created and in order to resolve it was decided to include both proposals putting in parenthesis those of the scientific sector.

 There is no explanation for the lack of fulfillment. All industries are committed to knowing and fulfilling the norms applied to their activity; in this area indifference constitutes a mistake.

 It could be that the designers of the nutritional information label are not always adequately trained or that even if they are, they get confused.

 The dispositions of these norms among other countries with respect to the nutrimental information differ and therefore complicate the existence of those who import and export food products.

 Since each country has different problems and conditions, their laws and regulations are usually different and the food industry is no exception.

 It is a complex matter of subject but something must be done about it.

Example:

Name of product: ________________

 Nutrimental Information _________________________

By portion: 240 ml.

Energetic content
 672 kJ(160.8 kcal)___________________

Proteins 7.68 g
Fats (lipids) 10.32 g
Carbohydrates 9.84 g
Sodium l.27g

Additional Information

RDA Nutriment Percentage
Protein 10.2%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 18.3 %
Niacin (nicotinic acid) 12.0 %
Calcium 34.8 %
Phosphorus 23.0 %
Iron 51.2 %
Magnesium 5.8 %
Zinc 9.6%

FOLLOWING: NEW WAYS FOR DETECTING AND TREATING HIGH CHOLESTEROL


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Dear visitor: The object of this web site is to inform and educate. Therefore, the information contained herein does not substitute professional medical attention.
If you have any doubt with respect to this information consult your personal doctor.

Medical supervision by Dr. Arieh Goldberg Kalik.
Bariatric physician, certified medical nutrition specialist. Certificate # 1010084

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