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food-labelEarlier this year we blogged about some upcoming changes to the Nutrition Facts labels found on packaged foods and beverages. Among the proposed changes are clearer information about fats and sugar, updated daily values and serving size requirements, and a new design that would highlight certain elements deemed significant to public health. But is it enough? Many health officials say no.

The Associated Press recently spoke with former FDA Commissioner David Kessler and former CDC official William H. Dietz, who voiced their concerns that the new labels still won’t be enough to help consumers decide which foods are really good for them. They and other experts would like to see even more improvements, including changes to the following:

  • Nutritional Values: Even though more consumers are reading nutrition labels than ever before, experts worry they still may not have a clear enough understanding of what those labels mean or what foods they should really be eating (i.e. real food vs. processed junk). Experts would like to see the FDA offer clarity beyond just listing numbers and technical terms.
  • Ingredients Lists: How often do you just glance over those long lists of ingredients you can’t pronounce—picking out the one or two you think might be most important? Experts believe if the FDA kept it simple (for example, listing all forms of sugar as a single ingredient) it would be easier for consumers to understand just what might be ending up in their bodies.
  • Sugar Amounts (and Types): Although the proposed changes include making a distinction between naturally occurring sugars and added sugars (those added in during processing and preparation), health officials believe it’s still not enough. They want to see a daily value created for sugar to help people determine how much sugar they should really be eating on a daily basis.
  • Front Labeling: Several years back the FDA talked about making changes to the front of food packaging in addition to changing the Nutrition Facts labels, but the effort has since been put on hold. Experts agree that change is still needed and suggest highlighting the main ingredients up front, along with the total number of calories and possibly how many additional ingredients there are.

Finally, a number of health officials would like to see more context when it comes to how much of certain nutrients folks should be aiming for in their daily diets. Because it’s hard to think in percentages, experts think clearer labeling could help people determine exactly how much of a certain ingredient they are consuming and whether or not it is more than they need.

Needless to say, the food industry disagrees with many of the recommended changes and believes they provide more information than necessary. With the public comment period on the proposed changes now extended through August, it looks like only time will tell what the food labels of the future may look like.

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dog-in-grassOur four-legged friends tend to be more active during the summer months—when warmer weather and longer days allow for plenty of outdoor play time. But increased exercise and more time outdoors can impact your dog’s health, and just like you, your canine companion can benefit from a little added support. Natural supplements are a safe and effective way to help your dogs cope with problems like dry skin, decreased joint flexibility and mobility, and even sensitive stomachs.

  • Keep Hips and Joints Healthy
    Just as important as making sure he stays healthy and active is making sure your dog has the right support for his hips and joints. A natural supplement with beneficial ingredients like glucosamine and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), along with whole herbs, herbal extracts and flower essences may help relieve discomfort from normal daily activity. For best results, combine it with a natural Omega-3 EPA and DHA formula to support overall joint, brain and nervous system health.
  • Soothe Seasonal Itching
    Itching, scratching, licking, shedding—all of these can be brought on by seasonal weather changes. A natural skin and coat supplement can help return a healthy glow to his coat. Look for ingredients to support healthy skin such as brewer’s yeast, inositol, borage oil, chamomile and burdock root, along with beneficial herbs and flower essences.
  • Support Healthy Digestion & Weight Management
    Because of their relatively short digestive tracts, dogs can benefit from added support to assist with healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. This, in turn, helps promote healthy weight management and overall well-being. Choose a natural supplement that includes probiotics, digestive enzymes and fiber to support intestinal health (including the relief of occasional gas) as well as bowel and anal gland health.
  • Assist with Natural Detoxification
    The backyard may seem like a playground to your dog, but we humans know all too well about the chemicals and environmental pollutants lurking in every lawn, park and play area that can take a serious toll on his health. Look for a gentle daily formula that supports normal detoxification and healthy liver function to help pets enjoy the vibrant health and vitality they deserve. It may contain ingredients such as milk thistle, dragon’s blood and green tea, along with cleansing herbs and flower essences.

Our dogs are part of the family, and they count on us to protect them and keep them healthy during the summer months and all year long. Natural herbal supplements are a great way to do just that.

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