Now that the holidays are over, many Americans have made New Year’s resolutions to shed pounds they may have packed on from party buffets. If you’re one such health-minded person, you’re already familiar with the nutrition facts panels found on most foods.
Just last week, FSIS published a new rule that will make nutrition facts panels mandatory on about 40 of the most popular cuts of raw meat and poultry. This means that you’ll be able to compare the calories and fat content for ground turkey versus ground beef, or for pork chops versus chicken breasts, right in the store.
Over the course of 2011, nutrition facts panels will appear on an increasing number of ground meat and poultry packages, as well as on the packages of raw, whole cuts like chicken pieces, pork chops, and steak tenderloin that do not have added ingredients.
Having been in the medical profession for a number of years, I am very aware of Americans’ concerns with weight and nutrition. This isn’t always about vanity. People want to feed their families nutritious, safe food, and every person has individual needs. USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services provide the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years, and these labels are one tool that my agency can give Americans to help follow those guidelines.
In any weight loss program, physical activity and calorie intake need to balance one another. Now, you won’t have to guess how many calories you’re putting into your body when you supplement your diet with lean protein. Consumers, whether dieting or not, should feel really empowered to make better choices for themselves with this new knowledge.
If you want to know the nutritional content of a certain product before the rule goes into full effect on January 1, 2012, you can find the nutritional facts for just about any food on USDA’s Nutrient Database. Soon, though, more specific information will be available as soon as you pick up your product.