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"Different labels on food that clearly display the total number of calories and nutrients in the entire package, rather than just part of it, might help people make healthier food choices, according to a study from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA researchers, whose results appeared in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that people were best at assessing things like chips and frozen meals - and comparing the healthfulness of multiple products - when the nutrition facts were presented for the entire container's worth of food, or for both one serving and the entire container. This does away with the need to multiply the nutrition facts listed by the number of servings per package if people want to eat it all, researchers said...Currently, manufacturers are given a lot of leeway when it comes to deciding how much a serving size is, according to Gina Mohr, a marketing researcher from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, who didn't contribute to the study. To make products appear healthier, some companies have started increasing the number of servings listed per container, thus lowering the number of calories per serving. All of that adds to consumers' confusion, she said. Researchers warned that it's still not known whether clearer nutrition facts would change what people choose to buy or eat, and it's also unclear if and when the FDA might issue changes to labelling requirements."

Posted January 24th, 2013