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Feds To Get Tough On Food Labels, Calorie Displays

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(Photo Credit: AP)

(Photo Credit: AP)

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CBS Miami (con't)

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MIAMI (CBS4) -Sometimes it feels like you need a degree in nutrition to figure out the labels on food, including the ingredients and the calories in a portion. But the government is hoping to change all that as it prepares to broaden regulation on calorie displays.

Going to movies usually means a trip to the concession stand where all that candy and popcorn can add up to lots of calories.

Nutritionist Joan Salge Blake did the math and said those monster-sized bags of popcorn can add up to about 1,500 calories and that’s without the added butter.

If you wash that popcorn down with a big coke, that’s another 600 calories.

“The problem is the size of the packages and the size of the portion that we’re having of this. It’s making this very challenging to stay within our caloric needs,” said Blake.

The Food and Drug Administration is looking to become more aggressive about the nation’s weight problem. Last March, a law was signed requiring nutritional information be posted on menus of restaurant chains with more than 20 establishments.

Now, the government is looking to broaden the regulation to include concession stands, airlines, salad bars and bakeries.

“I think it’s a terrific idea because what it does is it empowers the consumer to understand what he or she is going to order before they place the order,” according to Blake. “It’s actually a good idea because it doesn’t prevent people from actually choosing to have it but it gives them more information.”

Nutritionists hope these labels will cause us to buy less and eat less and not really notice.

“We know from research that less is more, that people tend to be satisfied on the smaller portion, so buy eating the larger portion you’re not increasing satisfaction, you’re increasing calories,” according to Blake.

The FDA has until March of 2011 to announce these regulations, how they will be enforced and what the penalties will be for not complying.

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