Don't Look Now But That Chocolate Milk Calorie Content Isn't Really Correct

OK.  So do you really know how many calories are in that pomegranate soda?  Mary Clare Jalonick writes that up until now, it's been hard for the government to keep up with all the new foods -- and their nutritional content -- that are constantly streaming into the marketplace.

But the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill is hoping to put a stop to that by creating a ginormous map of what Americans are buying and eating, according to Jalonick.

Chocolate milk has long interested researchers because, though the government lists chocolate milk with 2% milk as one unit, the UNC group, using scanners from grocery stores and other commercial data "founds thousands of different brands and variations of 2% chocolate milk and averaged them out, Jalonick reports.

What they found was that this wasn't just happening with chocolate milk, it was pretty much occurring with every food product.  Can you imagine making sense of all that, enough to truly have accurate calorie counts and nutritional value?

Jalonick says that having this kind of information could help with better targeting of nutrition guidelines, as well as push companies to cut down on some ingredients, even help with disease research.

"The country needs something like this, given all of the questions about our food supply," UNC professor Babby Popkin, head of the study, told Jalonick.

This three-year study has yielded all kinds of information, including more data than researchers have ever had on the nutrition of grocery store items, "who is buying them, and their part in consumers' diets," Jalonick relates.

The study will fill in gaps in current data about the choices available to consumers and whether they are healthy, Susan Krebs-Smith, who researches diet and other risk factors related to cancer, according to Jalonick.

So if you're even more confused than ever, don't be.  The end result of this project -- Jalonick calls it "mapping the food genome" -- will be the most comprehensive, accurate listing of exactly what you are eating and how it may affect your health.


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