Friday, October 30, 2009

"Smart Choices" Exits Stage Left

In a February 2009 post we talked about nutrition labeling programs called "Heart Check", "Health Check", and "Smartspot"/"Smart Choices Made Easy". I apparently missed the "Smart Choices" program, but no long term loss as it has now been discontinued in controversy.

The Washington Post reported on October 29

The Smart Choices Program, launched in August, deemed Froot Loops nutritious enough to sport a big checkmark on the front of boxes signifying that choosing the cereal was indeed smart. The news media and consumer advocacy groups had a field day with that one, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration vowed to protect the public against any misconceptions caused by the labeling system.

Things came to a head Friday, when Smart Choices announced it would cease activity and pledged to work with the FDA to develop a universal system for posting nutrition information on the front of food packages.

It is not clear if the "Smart choices made easy" program of Pepsi is still around, although the website indicates no change. This program has improved since the first mention in February in that they now give criteria for selecting foods to be endorsed.

But I would like to remind all these groups about what Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 says about "Individuals with hypertension, blacks, and middle-aged and older adults." Now I don't have precise demographic and epidemiological data on the US population, but I am fairly certain that these 4 groups comprise 30+% of the US population. (Any readers have a firmer estimate?) And HHS and USDA conclude in Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 that these 4 groups should

" Aim to consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day"

So how many 480 mg servings from foods with such health labels can you eat each day and still stay under 1500 mg?

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