The FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) never gave this guy a name when they created him to train Americans in how to read food labels, but I call him Mr. Nutrition Facts (with fond memories of that great Simpsons episode about “Mr. Plow”).

Mr. Nutrition Facts sports a brave smile, but the fact is, fewer and fewer people are paying attention to him anymore, according to a report released this week by the USDA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture surveyed people in 1996 and again in 2006, and found that during this period, use of the Nutrition Facts panel decreased 3% and use of the ingredients list decreased 11%.

The survey also asked whether consumers paid attention to individual items – like fat, calories, and cholesterol – on the Nutrition Facts panel. Turns out the ONLY item that MORE consumers look for than did ten years ago, is fiber, which the study says “may be the result of … interest in whole grain foods…”

Hmmm. More people are interested in whole grain foods. But they don’t find the ingredients list helpful. Sounds like a job for … Super Stamp. Look for the Whole Grain Stamp, now on almost 2,100 products. It’s a quick and reliable way to find whole grains.

P.S. Remember that fiber is NOT a reliable indicator of whole grain content. Whole grains vary widely in percent of fiber (from about 3.5% to almost 30% in various grains) and a food might also have other non-grain fibers added. (Cindy – August 13, 2008)

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