Clearing up food labels isn’t real progress

Q: Can junk foods take part in a clear eating regimen?

A: “Clean eating” may be the new black, the brand new kale, the brand new, new factor. A current survey in the Worldwide Food Information Council, a business group that researches buying habits, discovered that 61 percent of shoppers say recognizing ingredients on packaged foods is essential for their purchase decision.

Born of anxiety about things artificial, that impulse has consumers clamoring for foods that suit that description, and also the clamor is driving food companies, restaurants and supermarkets to reformulate products to match — even while protecting that segment of the subscriber base that hates the thought of change.

The important thing real question is whether individuals reformulated foods are actually any much better. Within the primary, they aren’t. Concentrating on “naturalness” is really a lousy method to reduce risk, because lots of artificial ingredients are harmless, and lots of natural ones aren’t.

A study through the Center for Science within the Public Interest identifies some artificial things that pose risks (included in this some artificial colors and preservatives), and report author Lisa Lefferts explained, “We are glad to determine companies eliminate some additives which have a questionable safety record.”

However the report concludes that many additives are secure, and “the greatest risks come from the meals themselves, and not the additives,” based on Lefferts, who lists salt, sugar, saturated fats and too little fiber and nutrients as bigger problems.

— Tamar Haspel, The Washington Publish

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