Food labels and nutrition references

In summary: FDC. While these foods may provide interesting information, it is important to remember that the FDC is primarily intended for more common foods consumed in the United States. It is important to consult other resources for information on less common or exotic foods.In summary, the DRI provides basic nutritional intake guidelines, while resources like the FDC can help individuals and organizations make informed decisions about their nutrition. These resources are important for not only individuals, but also for policymakers to consider in promoting public health.
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jim mcnamara

US References:

DRI provides basic nutritional intake guidelines. There are extensive tables broken out by nutrient, by age and by gender.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97%-98%) healthy people.
Adequate Intake (AI): established when evidence is insufficient to develop an RDA and is set at a level assumed to ensure nutritional adequacy.
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

USDA Food data central (FDC)

The EU, Australia, NZ, and WHO all have similar resources, as examples. Also, software to automate calculations from data for foods like ground beef, which come in an array of lean::fat percentages, i.e, 73::27. This affects calories, fatty acids, trans fat and so on.

Food processors, nutrition researchers and food scientists are the main audience. Some primary goals:
Processed food nutrition label compliance for new product development.
USDA school lunch program compliance.
Of course anyone can access and use them, which is the reason for this post.
Also note:
Because of the huge impact this regulation set has on the food industry there is a political component to how much X nutrient is required. And whether or not it has to be in a school lunch. You may remember the wacky debate about 'Is ketchup (catsup if you like) a vegetable?'

Let's look at trans fat. It took 15 years to enforce a deadline on the use of them in foods. And remove them from the GRAS list.

Boutique trans fat triglycerides were extensively used in bakery products, deep fryers, and prepared foods. They were a really great solution from the food industry's point of view. In 1990's research indicated that human metabolism did not deal well with trans fatty acids, it exacerbated arterial plaque buildup.
Ex: M Kolhmeier 'Nutrient Metabolism Structures, Functions, and Genes' pp 174-179 2015 edition.

There are also tiny amounts of trans fats in the meat of some ruminants.

So, the compromise was to put trans fat on the label, but any amount less than 1 gram is displayed as zero grams. The other big impact was for deep frying in restaurants and processing plants. Polyunsaturated oils undergo changes at high temperature so there are on-going problems for manufacturers and fryer owners.

Have some - see if can find unusual food like maybe 'polar bear liver' in the FDC. I have not looked in the current edition, but it has been there for several years
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Thank you for your post and for bringing up the topic of dietary reference intake guidelines and the resources available to help individuals and organizations make informed decisions about their nutrition. As a scientist in the field of nutrition, I would like to provide some additional information and insights on this topic.

The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are a set of guidelines developed by the National Academy of Medicine to help individuals and organizations make informed decisions about their nutrition. These guidelines are based on the latest scientific evidence and take into account different age groups, genders, and life stages. They include three main categories: Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), Adequate Intake (AI), and Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). The RDA is the average daily intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy individuals, while the AI is established when there is not enough evidence to set an RDA. The UL is the maximum daily intake level that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects.

In addition to the DRI, there are other resources available to help individuals and organizations make informed decisions about their nutrition. One of these resources is the USDA FoodData Central (FDC), which is a comprehensive database that provides information on the nutrient content of many different foods. This database can be useful for food processors, nutrition researchers, and food scientists in developing new products or ensuring compliance with regulations, such as the nutrition label requirements. It can also be used for educational purposes and to help individuals make healthier food choices.

It is important to note that the DRI and other resources, such as the FDC, are not only important for individuals and organizations, but also for policymakers. As you mentioned, there is a political component to how much of a certain nutrient is required and whether it should be included in school lunches or not. This is why it is crucial for policymakers to base their decisions on the latest scientific evidence and to consider the potential impact on public health.

As for your mention of trans fats, I would like to add that the removal of trans fats from the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list was based on strong scientific evidence showing the negative effects of trans fats on human health. While there may be some challenges for food manufacturers and restaurants in finding suitable replacements for trans fats, it is important to prioritize public health and continue to make efforts to reduce the intake of trans fats in the food supply.

Lastly, I would like to address your suggestion

What information is typically included on a food label?

A food label typically includes information such as serving size, calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and ingredients.

How are the values on a food label determined?

The values on a food label are determined by conducting laboratory tests or using nutrition databases to analyze the ingredients and nutrients in a food product.

What is the purpose of nutrition references on food labels?

Nutrition references on food labels provide a guide for consumers to make informed decisions about the nutritional content of a food product and to help them maintain a healthy diet.

How accurate are food labels?

Food labels are required by law to be accurate, but there may be some variation in the actual nutrient content due to natural variations in ingredients and manufacturing processes.

Are there any common misconceptions about food labels?

One common misconception about food labels is that the values listed are based on a single serving, when in fact they may be based on a recommended serving size or the entire package.

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