The truth and lies about calorie content

Yeah, I thought I had at least a rudimentary grasp of mathmatics, but Pepsico, Inc (and the FDA) proves me wrong.

Let’s take a look at the equation here.

Let’s set up the equation first:

  • x=servings
  • c1=0 calories
  • c2=10 calories

Still with me?  Ok, now we write out the equation:

(1x=c1) = (2.5x=c2)

Still with me?  Really? You haven’t lost interest in this yet?

Basically what they’re saying is that if you drink one serving (8 ounces) you get 0 calories, but if you drink 2.5 servings (at 20 ounces) you get 10 calories.

Yeah, go ahead scratch your head, bang it against something large, heavy and solid, you’re baffled right?

So was I, till someone mentioned something to me about the legal requirements to post food contents, etc and how screwed up they were.

So I headed over to the Food and Drug Administration’s website and did some digging.

According to the Food and Drug Administration:

Food Labeling guide

Section 7 Nutrition Labeling;

Question N7 and N8

N7. When the caloric value for a serving of a food is less than 5 calories, can the actual caloric value be declared?
Answer: The caloric value of a product containing less than 5 calories may be expressed as zero or to the nearest 5 calorie increment (i.e., zero or 5 depending on the level). Foods with less than 5 calories meet the definition of “calorie free” and any differences are dietarily insignificant. 21 CFR 101.9(c)(1)

N8. Should a value of 47 calories be rounded up to 50 calories or rounded down to 45 calories?
Answer: Calories must be shown as follows:

50 calories or less–Round to nearest 5-calorie increment: Example: Round 47 calories to “45 calories”
Above 50 calories–Round to nearest 10-calorie increment: Example: Round 96 calories to “100 calories”
21 CFR 101.9(c)(1) Also see Appendix H for rounding guidelines.

So, now this equation sort of makes sense and it can be declared as:

(1x=y) = (2.5x=10)
y=actual calories

Which in this case y=4

So, in one serving of Diet Mountain Dew there are 4 calories, but because of the screwed up way the FDA lays out it’s information, you think it’s 0.  For those of us that tend to count calories, that’s really not good.  Well, I sort of count calories, I should be counting them more, but hey…time to get off my lazzy arse and get running again I guess.

And who says that soft drinks aren’t educational?  It made me dig deep into the bowels of the FDA and federal regulations to find out why I’m being told that if I drink 8 ounces of something it’s one set and if I drink 20 ounces of it it’s something else…

It also teaches us that we are being lied to on a daily basis and don’t realize it.  And just because we’re drinking or eating ‘diet food and drink’ doesn’t mean we’re actually getting the right information on what we’re putting into our bodies.  Which is another reason I like having our own garden and family members that raise chicken, pig and cows.  We know what’s going into them and in turn our own bodies.

But in all reality here I think this was done more for a simplification sake than anything (so to speak).  But to me it sounds like it’s so simplified that you need a bunch of documents and appendices to figure out how to make it simple.

Anywho, let me know your thoughts on this.


~ by Normanomicon on November 3, 2011.

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