By James Zeller
Just a moment before you pick up that low-carb salad dressing from the grocery store shelf. Low cal, low carb, reduced fat, reduced carbs, and other so called healthy promotional phrases may all take on a entirely new meaning in the not too distant future.
FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester Crawford has indicated a food content labeling mandate will probably cause a substantial number of products to have their labels changed. Crawford indicated it will be an effort to ‘demystify the current confusion about carbohydrates.’
Many food makers have jumped on the ‘low-carb’ band wagon. Companies hawk everything from traditional creamy and/or vinaigrette salad dressings, to low-carbohydrate Easter chocolate, as formulated and manufactured reduced in calories and carbs.
The FDA is concerned how food producing companies count carbohydrates, as it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some do indeed significantly cut carbohydrates. Others promote their products as reduced-carb, but only cut a single gram per serving. Surprisingly, these are priced to cost more too. Then there are some companies that leave ingredients out of their carb-count altogether. In some instances these practices actually yield good results. Take for example some breads: carbohydrates are cut by increasing fiber content, this is a change many low-carb critics embrace because most Americans don’t consume enough fiber.
As early as this summer, the FDA plans to determine precisely how many carbohydrates are allowed for a food product to be promoted or advertised as low-carb or reduced-carb.
It is expected the Food and Drug Administration will also tell the food manufacturers how they should count the grams as well.
The mystery, what exactly is ‘low-carb’?
Until FDA defines the terms, ‘reduced carb’ or ‘low carb’ these promotional descriptions will not be allowed on food labels. In fact the FDA has ordered some companies to quit using them. Pure De-Lite stopped labeling its dark chocolate bar ‘low-carb.’ The manufacturer of Nature’s Own Wheat ‘n Fiber bread decided to change its name from the original ‘reduced carbohydrate’ just before receiving FDA’s directive last year.
One trade group, the Grocery Manufacturers of America, represents most major brands. They have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to define ‘low-carb’ as 9 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of food, determined as a typical serving.
GMA nutrition director Alison Kretser, is not endorsing any particular weight-loss plan, but believes putting carbs on a level playing field with fat and other food ingredients is fair and prudent.
CSPI is a consumer advocacy group who wants low-carb defined as 6 grams per serving, and for ‘reduced carb’ foods to have at least twenty-five percent less carbohydrates than original product versions.
You would think we could ‘all just get along’ by eating green salads and using home made vinaigrette recipe dressings wouldn’t you?
About the Author: James Zeller writes for gourmet gift related websites and blogs. Here is a selection of
oil and vinegar recipes
that he found, and a creative collection of
culinary gourmet gifts
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