Choosing healthier foods at the grocery store may soon be a little easier.
The Food and Drug Administration is proposing several changes to the nutrition labels you see on packaged foods and beverages. If approved, the new labels would place a bigger emphasis on total calories, added sugars and certain nutrients, such as Vitamin D and potassium.
The FDA is also proposing changes to serving size requirements in an effort to more accurately reflect what people usually eat or drink. For example, if you buy a 20-ounce soda, you're probably not going to stop drinking at the 8-ounce mark. The new rules would require that entire soda bottle to be one serving size - making calorie counting simpler.
Anyone who's ever read a nutrition label knows that our food supply is full of hard-to-pronounce chemicals. Most are generally recognized as safe, as the Food and Drug Administration likes to say, but a few have given scientists cause for concern.
Azodicarbonamide, for instance. Subway announced last week that it would be removing the controversial chemical from its bread. Generally used for strengthening dough, azodicarbonamide is also found in yoga mats and shoe soles, according to the Centers for Science in the Public Interest. One of the breakdown products is a recognized carcinogen.
Though Subway is going to remove azodicarbonamide, there's a long list of other chemicals used in its bread: calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, potassium iodate and ascorbic acid, according to the restaurant's website (PDF).
And Subway certainly isn't alone. What other chemical additives are commonly found in your food? Here are seven, picked at random as good practice for the upcoming CNN Spelling Bee (just kidding).
Choosing healthier snacks may soon be easier.
The Food and Drug Administration says that updating nutrition labels is a priority this year, although it's unclear when the labels will change.
The labels have remained pretty much the same for decades. It wasn't until the late 1960s that most food labels listed any nutrition information at all.
You may inadvertently be getting more than you bargained for when you put paprika in your chicken paprikash.
A new Food and Drug Administration report, "Pathogens and Filth in Spices," says that 12% of U.S. spice imports are contaminated with bug parts, rodent hairs and other ingredients more appropriate to a witches' brew than your mother's favorite recipe.
The FDA study also found that 7% of spice imports the inspectors examined were contaminated with salmonella. Salmonella are toxic bacteria that can trigger diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
Full disclosure: A lot of journalists at CNN drink diet soda. So when we saw a new study suggesting that artificially sweetened beverages are just as bad for you as sugar-sweetened drinks, we, and our readers, bubbled over with questions.
Are artificial sweeteners used in soft drinks and foods safe? Will they make us fat? How much is too much?
When you shop for turkey burgers for dinner tonight, you may be buying more than meat.
Editor's note: all week, CNN Newsroom, Rick's List and Eatocracy are teaming up to take a look the effects our dining choices have on our minds, bodies and wallets. Tune into CNN Newsroom daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET for on-air coverage and join in the discussion here on Eatocracy. ALL COVERAGE
Jen Christensen is a CNN Investigative Producer. She recently spoke with Alice Waters, chef and owner of Chez Panisse, and founder of The Chez Panisse Foundation, which "envisions a school curriculum and school lunch program where growing, cooking, and sharing food at the table gives students the knowledge and values to build a humane and sustainable future."
Chef Waters shared the following statement with CNN.
"50 years ago the President of the United States was worried about the health of this nation. So he inspired a program in the public schools that touched every single child, and it was very expensive to build tracks, to buy equipment and teachers, but it became part of every childs’ experience in school."