Food Labels · 19 April 2013

I was amazed to read on its label that almonds are a good source of dietary fiber. Of course, I already knew that fact. I was simply amazed that it was on the label.

It seems a no brainer to me that plant-based, whole foods are good for us. They have macronutrients, micronutrients, phytonutrients, fiber, and every nutritional component we need to live and thrive. (Not much B12, but that is a different story.) So to see a claim like I saw on the almonds was rather humorous.

Then, I thought about it a little. Either the food industry is playing to what the media tells people is good for us and pointing out the current trend or we as consumers are so helplessly mired in eating habits that are detrimental to our health that the food industry must guide us in the right direction. There are probably other options, but I do not really believe that the food industry is trying to do us any favors. It is just trying to sell products.

We do need dietary fiber. But instead of trying to read a bunch of package labels to see if food has any nutrition, people ought to be gravitating toward plant-based, whole foods. Those foods have the most nutrition of any foods and unless they are prepared or packaged somehow (like my almonds), they usually have no labels. The farther away foods are from being whole, the less nutrition they have and the more they need labels to tell us that they actually have some value to our bodies (however dubious their claims).

I am not saying that we need to stop reading labels. (They can help us see that even seemingly wholesome foods might have added ingredients like sugar or salt.) But I still think it is funny seeing nutrition claims on whole foods. Still, I suppose seeing a nutrition label on a banana would be more humorous than reading the label on my almonds that proudly promotes the fact that they are a good source of dietary fiber.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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