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Dietician Shares Insight On Proposed Food Labels

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A local dietician shares her thoughts on the FDA's proposed nutrition facts labels.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- An Ozarks dietician said Thursday that the changes to the nutrition facts labels are a good step toward enabling consumers to make healthier decisions.

The proposal is the first major change to the labels in two decades.

First Lady Michelle Obama applauded the changes at the White House.

"Families deserve more and better information about the food they eat," Obama said. "Too often it's nearly impossible to get the basic facts about the food we buy for our families."

The new labels will put less of an emphasis on fats, which CoxHealth dietician Donna Webb said will help take some of the stigma away from certain whole foods.

"Fats actually offer a lot of great health benefits for us so we're diminishing them as the bad guy," Webb said.

The labels will add more information about added, or unnatural, sugars.

"Research is showing that a lot of chronic disease is directly related to added sugar in our foods," she said.

Webb said another change that will help consumers make better decisions in the grocery store and in the kitchen: more realistic portion sizes.

If I'm eating a cereal and I'm having a whole cup of it but the nutrition facts label says I'm only eating three table spoons, I might get an unrealistic view of how many calories I'm actually getting," she said.

Webb said shoppers should pay close attention to ingredients, especially looking out for any words they don't understand.

"We're asking people to identify those foods, move those foods out of their diet and move more real food into their diet," Webb said.

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