As I was trying to figure out what to have for a mid-morning snack the other day (deciding between a yogurt followed by a banana, or half a Chocolove chocolate bar followed by the other half of that bar) I started thinking about nutrition labels.

Experts have agreed upon the following label as the best way to educate mankind about what we’re putting in our bodies:

nutrition label

These labels are fine. Totally adequate. We’ve all been taught what they mean. However, if we actually understood them we wouldn’t need Weight Watchers to simplify things further and count points for us.

When it comes to labels, I like them to tell me exactly what’s going on without numbers. This is the proper way. Case and point: The letter A was used in 17th century colonial Boston to label adulteresses as evidenced in The Scarlet Letter, and in more modern times fashion designers have been kind enough to use labels such as “Prada,” “Ralph Lauren” and so on. Therefore, my proposed labels would be free of meaningless math as well.

no capes no math

My proposed labels would also deconstruct the current ones even further. For example, when I look at fat content, I’m really wondering how long until I’m hungry again. When I look at potassium, well, I don’t– if I wanted potassium I’d eat a banana. My point is, each line on my new nutrition label still answers the same question as it did on the old label. The line for sodium still tells you about sodium, the line for cholesterol still tells you about cholesterol… but in a way that does not require conversions:

For example, let’s say I wanted to eat some junk food:

new nutrition labels

So there you have it. I’m sure Mrs Obama will reach out to me when she’s not so busy and we’ll start a new health campaign called “Food: Ready, Filling and Labeled.”

So that’s what I’m thinking (out loud) today. Thanks Amanda!




What do you look at when you look at nutrition labels? (I always glance at fat, sodium, and protein. And sometimes sugar.)

Do you pay attention to suggested serving sizes?  (I do pay attention, I just don’t always agree with their suggestion.)

Do you like numbers? (Gross.)

51 Thoughts on “Nutrition Labels by Charlotte

  1. Haha nice. I’m also looking for the “how long will I be full?” measurement. I usually read the labels pretty thoroughly. I’m weird and I like numbers.
    As far as serving sizes go, those are totally debatable. For instance, as I type this I’m currently eating sunbutter from the jar with a spoon. In my workout clothes. I’ve probably had more than one serving.
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food recently posted…20 Minute Superset WorkoutMy Profile

  2. This is Very funny and Very true! The worst nutrition label is popcorn…how in the world do we figure out what a serving size is and how we count it?!? Ugh! Have a great day!
    Fran@BCDC recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #4My Profile

  3. Liz T. on November 6, 2014 at 7:33 am said:

    Hilarious. When it comes to labels, if I don’t recognize the word, I assume it’s plastic. But then sometimes I do recognize a word, put the food down and run
    (for example — shellac: coming to us straight from secretions of a female lac beetle, this substance is commonly used to coat things, primarily wood and skittles).

  4. Ha – Yes – I want – need to see more “Nutrition Labels by Charlotte” around – I think you should start the “Food: Ready, Filling and Labeled” petition – I will sign it (2 times – one with each hand!)
    I kinda ignore most of the numbers parts of those labels – I skip to the ingredients – they are the most important to me – if there are too many things I cannot read – I usually don’t buy it – usually.
    As for serving sizes – GAH – packaging just needs to be 1 serving or like you suggested the “Whole darn thing”! 😉

  5. Hey that’s that no capes thing you brought up on my blog! Also, I look at the teams fat and sugar first. Then total carbs. And then ingredients. I generally try to look at the label seeing how bad it could be rather than look at the good things, such as protein and healthy fats. And if it doesn’t have a label… It’s probably good for me!
    Chris recently posted…What Does Death Sound Like?My Profile

    • It’s from the Incredibles! Which — I’d just like to go on record as saying– is the best animated movie out there and needs a long overdue sequel. And agreed– If it doesnt have a label it is absolutely good for you, and also doesn’t have any calories 😀

  6. WHY ARE YOU SO BRILLIANT?? When I look at some labels, instead of “sugar alcohols” I read “Things that give me gas and cramps.” Thus why I gave away the Quest Bars, rather than eating them!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Signs November is Upon Us (Thinking Out Loud)My Profile

  7. Oh my gosh! Food labels are the worst! I feel like instead of % they should tell you how many grams you want to stay under in order for something to be healthy. Like should my yogurt have more than 12g of sugar. Also, how are you supposed to know if it is added sugar or not? Oy! It seems like we can’t win.
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Thankful NovemberMy Profile

    • Yesss exactly! Plus everyone’s needs are different — there’s probably about a dozen people in the world who should actually stick to the exact recommended percentages

  8. I freaking love that label and will include this post on my first week of my health and wealth challenge I’m doing on my blog because I think it’s so perfect. Labels, as you pointed out, are much more than numbers aren’t they? They are how you feel after you eat whatever it is you’re eating. Even if something is a low weight watchers number, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy and will satisfy you more than a few minutes. :)
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Budget Circus SideshowMy Profile

    • Exactly! Labels that actually give us info we need may actually be helpful. And oh I’m so excited for your health and wealth challenge– that’s going to be good!

  9. fucking brilliant. and would totally make sense. i only look at calories, sodium and sugar content but the whole “how long will this fill me up” would be an awesome measurement!
    kathy@vodka and soda recently posted…humpday confessionsMy Profile

  10. Haha I LOVE your nutrition label, it’s definitely much more informative and user-friendly. I mostly look at the ingredient list and sugar content of foods–they sneak that sweet stuff into everything!
    Emma @em-poweredwellness recently posted…Managing Post-Exercise InflammationMy Profile

    • Oh it’s so true about the sweet stuff– my friend was going to get a chicken sandwich at this restaurant (but went online and read the ingredients first) there was sugar in it! A chicken sandwich. Thats insane.

  11. HAHA “your fingers and toes will be sausages.” This happens to me when I eat packaged shit…because I neverrr eat sodium so even the slightest bit makes me SWELL! I look at protein, fiber, sugar, and sodium. Def the first two if I skip over the second two.
    Brittany recently posted…A History of Memorable EventsMy Profile

  12. haha we agree on the serving size thing – I look at it, but I may not necessarily agree with their suggestions :-p
    And I usually look at sugar, protein, and sometimes fat. Although I wish nutrition labels distinguished between natural sugar and added sugar.
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Updates.My Profile

  13. I love numbers (I’m a nerd!!) but I prefer your food labels to any I’ve ever seen!!!
    My favorite is the sugar alcohols!!!
    Kim recently posted…Family DinnerMy Profile

  14. You know that I scrutinize labels!…and ingredients. My suggestion would be to label everything with simply YES and HELL NO! For example: Boom Chicka Pop Organic Pop Corn: YES, Doritos: HELL NO. Although I absolutely love your idea, I’m just thinking about Mrs. Obama’s time.
    Allie recently posted…My Love/Hate Relationship with AppleMy Profile

  15. OMG, I love this… especially the “fingers and toes will be sausages” part–THAT is the important stuff to read, y’all! I try to pay attention to the percentages, but for the most part I’m always sodium obsessed b/c I feel so lethargic if I eat too much salt.

    This is amazing. I’m sure SOMEONE in the blog world has a connection to Michelle 😉
    Charlotte recently posted…UncommonGoods Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    • Hahaha right!? I’m so salt sensitive too — like it will wake me up in the middle of the night and I’ll need to down cups and cups of water if I have too much pizza or some other salty thing for dinner (it doesn’t stop me from having too much pizza of course :) )

  16. Love this and you might end up as a guest star in my next Personal Trainer workshop when we talk about what our clients really see when they’re looking at food labels!
    AmberLynn Pappas recently posted…A Letter to My FriendsMy Profile

  17. Sodium – ouch. I’ll generously overlook that one – if it’s even mentioned. Because we don’t have these nutrition labels over here at all. Companies are only obligated to post calorie, fat, carb and protein content. Anything beyond that is up to the individual company so I guess you can imagine most choose the route of least work, Also, we don’t always get a serving size suggestion but the most common is stats per 100 g [metric measurements for the win 😉 ] and it’s up to you to figure out your serving size. According to a certain family member that would mean eating 3/4 of a bag of chips in one sitting. A serving size suggestion would be much appreciated for family friendliness there. Not like he’d even look at that, though.
    Are you even asking that last question with any seriousness at all? That’s why they allow you to essentially lay off math for good in grade 12 and 13 over here. Okay, so technically you’re still attending it but at a minimum level and you sit through those classes with your mind already wandering off to plan your future as a genius writer with a handsome boyfriend. Or something like that …
    Hm … looking at the length of this comment I’d have better added it to that mail I have almost finished – sorry for the delay! Woops.
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…[Your kind of] Balance is bestMy Profile

    • Hahaha this is such an epic comment– yeah I didn’t take a single math class after grade 11… unless you count stats… which I don’t as it was known to be the math class for kids who couldn’t math :) (and I may or may not have had to take algebra twice) and the difference between american and european food regulations is so interesting, im going to research that more.

  18. So with your nutrition labels i wont have to do math? calculate daily percentages? count me in!
    Do I like numbers? No Way!
    Andrea @ The Pineapple Cake recently posted…The Melbourne Cup for 30 BucksMy Profile

  19. This is the best nutrition label I have seen.

    Just kidding. The best was the bottle of water in ‘Merica which said ZERO CALORIES. Thank you.

    I usually look at ingredient lists but also fat- I find anything lacking it is like eating air in terms of satiety.

    Mrs.Obama will make you do push ups.
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…The Big Man’s World VS The Northern HemisphereMy Profile

  20. Bwahahahahaha. Now the Charlotte label is something even I, with my pitiful math abilities, can understand and get behind! I especially like the heads up about the Lipitor!! 😀
    The Dose of Reality recently posted…Oops, I Did It AgainMy Profile

  21. Brilliant post as usual! I always look at nutrition labels – I grew up with a mother who always looked at labels, and I think I knew how to read them as a 5 year old as a result haha… Wanna laugh though? A couple weeks ago, I was at the health food store starving and saw a protein cookie – a single cookie in a wrapper. I glanced at the stats and it said something about 180 calories, so I bought it, ate it in about 5 bites, then later looked at the label again before I threw it away… and a serving was HALF of a cookie. Like what? Who eats half of a cookie?!
    Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness recently posted…Dinner in 10: Black Bean Burger, Cheddar & Ranch SaladMy Profile

  22. Can you send in your version of nutrition labels to the USDA and FDA and the entire government so these can be our new labels by law?…So much better than any other nutrition label…EVER! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–you’re a genius.
    Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating recently posted…Mom’s Best CornbreadMy Profile

  23. HAHAH YES – perhaps this could be a new field of work to get into…definitely more informative then current labels if you ask me! I do look at serving sizes but not necessarily because I plan to follow them- it’s more to give me a better idea of the nutritional information of the amount I plan to consume. Although I do look at calories, I am more interested in grams of sugar, sodium and protein. But most importantly, my eyes almost always glance first at the ingredient list- if it’s pumped with chemicals and other ick ingredients, I don’t care how “healthy” the numbers may seem!
    Khusboo recently posted…Coconutty Apple Chia PuddingMy Profile

    • Yess- the ingredient list really is more important than what the numbers show. Although even healthy things can have a way of sneaking in way more salt and sugar than I was expecting!

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  25. Quite honestly- this would tell us a lot more of what we need to/should know. I think you’re on to something…
    If I look at labels I look at the protein, fibre, and first few ingredients. But…if they were your labels, I’d read it all!!
    Abby recently posted…Running through pregnancy – first trimesterMy Profile

  26. Hahaha life would be so much better if food labels told me how long said-food would keep me full – totally on board with that!
    Lauren @ ihadabiglunch recently posted…NASM update, metta success, and college-town cavortingMy Profile

  27. Oh, how I’ve missed you and your blog posts. Hope all is well in your world.

    This made me laugh…about that alcohol….

    For me, I don’t look at the numbers or sugar or protein or any of that nonsense. I read the ingredients. If I know what they all are, chances are I’m gonna eat it. :)

  28. oh my goodness, this is hysterical and SO TRUE! Nutrition labels confuse the heck out of me and your way would be SO MUCH better!!
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…What are Your Fitness Goals for 2015? #FitList15 Linky Party is LIVE!My Profile

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