In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would revise the “Nutrition Facts” food label that’s on all packaged foods. The new design is intended to make it easier for consumers to make healthier, more informed food choices. It was going to be implemented this year.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I know how important the Nutrition Facts label is to help individuals make healthier choices. Knowing these facts can then have a positive impact on various diet-related diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Employers also know how critically important preventing the onset of these chronic diseases can be to your health care costs and bottom line.
Recently, the government issued a proposed rule to postpone the implementation of these guidelines. However, consumers can still benefit from the information that currently exists. As we commemorate the 10th annual Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day and National Nutrition Month®, I thought it would be a great time to remind employers about the role you can play in helping your workforce embrace and participate in making informed food choices.
The theme for 2018 National Nutrition Month is “Go Further with Food.” According to the sponsor, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the theme is meant to promote the benefits of healthy eating, as well as how to plan ahead for meals and snacks to reduce food waste. It’s a great message and reminder about how to keep individuals and the environment healthy at the same time.
The National Nutrition Month campaign points consumers to some helpful yet often overlooked government resources on nutrition, such as MyPlate (choosemyplate.gov). My experience has taught me that the public is sometimes skeptical about nutrition advice. People may not respond to the straightforward look and messaging of some government resources.
However, the information on pages like MyPlate is some of the most solid and time-tested advice out there. Good nutrition information isn’t always “sexy.” In fact, we know that the best advice is the advice that has been out there seemingly forever:
- Eat a variety of healthy foods
- Be mindful of portion sizes
- Handle food safely to avoid foodborne illness
- Be physically active most days of the week
MyPlate also helps people learn how to read a food label and interpret the information to meet their individual health needs.
The final piece of advice from National Nutrition Month is to “realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs can provide sound, easy-to-follow, personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.” Whether they are in a clinical, corporate or community setting, RDNs can help you reach your health goals through improved food choices. And that will always remain good, solid advice.
To learn more about how having an RDN in your workplace can help you meet your health and wellness goals, visit our website.
About the Author:
Valerie Machinist, MS, RDN, LDN
Product Director, Optum On-Site Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Services
Optum provides health and well-being information and support as part of a patient’s health plan. It does not provide medical advice or other health services, and is not a substitute for a doctor’s care.