I was a third-year medical student. The day before, I had stood at a dissection table and opened a heart, the valves and arteries of which I had memorized. And yet, here I was in the grocery store, engrossed in and analysis of the tiny black and white type on the nutrition labels of two types of crackers.
Nutrition labels are sort of like a medical textbook—full of valuable information if you can decipher it but difficult for a non-expert to actually figure out. That's why you (and the more than 77 percent of Americans who say they use nutrition labels while shopping), can spend hours in the store scrutinizing the labels on two different foods and still leave unsure of which is actually more healthful.
The FDA recently made an important stride in trying to clear up the confusion with several big changes to labels. Some of these updates are long overdue and will make every shopper into a veritable food detective while others are a little more confusing.
Here’s the 411 on the good, the bad, and the still-a-little-tricky: