Wow! We're Eating 78 Calories Fewer A Year Than Before

Can you believe it?  The food industry -- that's companies like Kellog, General Mills, Pepsico and Hershey -- claim to have slashed trillions of calories from their foods, according to USA Today. That's 78 calories per person -- an average cookie or a small apple (you can't be serious!).

The companies say they have cut 64 trillion calories from their products -- four times what they were supposed to.

The 2010 pledge taken by 16 companies — including General Mills, Campbell Soup, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods, Kellogg, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Hershey — was to cut 1 trillion calories by 2012 and 1.5 trillion calories by 2015, writes Mary Clare Jalonik.

But what does this mean for the average person?

Well, even though the companies that made the commitment represent most of the nation's most well-known food companies, they sold only around a third of all packaged foods and beverages at the beginning of the study, Jalonik reports. "Missing are many off-label brands sold under the names of retailers, and it's unknown whether those products have changed," she points out.

How'd they do it? When the companies made the pledge in 2010, they said one way they would try and reduce calories would be to change portion sizes in an attempt to persuade consumers to eat less, according to Jalonik. (How has that worked out for you? Not so good, for me.).

She notes that the companies also said that they would develop new lower-calorie options and change existing products so they have fewer calories. "Evidence of those efforts are visible on any grocery store shelf. Many products now come in lower calorie versions, are baked instead of fried, or sold in miniature as well as larger versions," she explains.

But don't be fooled.  Low-fat? Most often, more sugar.  And other kinds of tricks.

Some experts say the main contributors to the calorie cuts most likely were the public's increasing willingness to buy healthier foods and companies responding to those consumers. Others say the lower-calorie foods have outsold standard versions of the products.

So is this a win-win? Yes, if everyone actually eats the smaller portion size. But if you're like my husband, who used to consume a whole box of Snackwell cookies (remember those?  fat-free but loaded with sugar?) in one sitting, not so much. 


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