Obesity has become a very big problem in the United States and many countries because people don’t necessarily know how much calorie they take each day. With our busy lives, not too many can actually spend time working out at the gym or playing sports so it’s really a great idea to figure out how many calories are on each of the items you buy from the grocery. It’s all there really but not too many of us take the time to read what’s written on the labels and some items don’t even have labels at all.

Now, the new Smart Choices Program will help you quickly spot which food products pass their criteria for “healthy” foods and which products don’t. Also, it will help you spot instantly how many calories and other nutritional information for the product instantly without taking time checking out what’s behind the packaging. They are going to start with this new way of combating obesity and other eating and weight problems by next year.

The labels where you’ll find the calories per serving and the number of servings per pack or bottle will be on food and beverage products from companies such as Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Mills and a lot more.

On Monday, October 27, 2008, the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo will unveil their goals for this program. They want the program to help people make the smarter choices so they can quickly improve their own health.

The task of checking out the amount of calories on each of those products may seem simple but would take time and not many people would want to spend hours just checking out the caloric content of their groceries so with this new program, you don’t even have to calculate anything as everything’s being laid out up front to you in a very straightforward fashion.

So basically, the new label program will create two parts for the food labels. The first part will be the Smart Choices program mark where you’ll find a green check when the product meets the nutritional requirements. The second part is the amount of calories per serving and the number of servings per pack.

The way they created the criteria for the program took them two years to finish especially because they don’t want to base the criteria just on the food pyramid because not too many people actually follow the food pyramid and that’s really not how people buy their groceries. Instead, they base it on what foods would be better for you so that when you walk down that grocery aisle you no longer have to check your food pyramid chart to find out which foods would be better for you or your children. You can’t just quickly say that desserts and beverages are bad for you because not all are calorie-packed at all and some of these products taste good and they are quite healthy for you too.

So, the group that created the program had created a total of 18 categories like snacks, desserts, entrees, beverages and cereals. Then, for each of these categories they set a certain guideline. On these guidelines, products are tested for their total fat that are saturated or unsaturated, sugar, sodium, calcium, potassium, etc. They also check if these products contain fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc. When a certain product meets these requirements then they get a green check mark on their food labels. Take note, these information are found on the front of the packaging and not at the back which we are very familiar of yet uninterested with.

Many companies are already ready to join on the food labeling program and are eager to put up these labels on all or most of their products. This way, consumers can quickly choose which products they want to buy without taking much of their time just figuring out if these products would be good for them.

The overall benefit of this program is on the consumers. This way, we could battle obesity as a community and it won’t be a personal battle anymore. As a community we could all eat healthy and those with weight problems would find losing weight more exciting and less difficult.

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