Why We Need to Redesign the Nutrition Label

Michael Pollan and Andrew Vande Moere weigh in on what's wrong with the current federal nutrition label—and how you should change it.

There’s still two weeks to send in your idea for our redesign the nutrition label challenge, a collaboration with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s News21. We also want to hear your ideas for improving the current nutrition label, which is both confusing and underutilized.

The entries will be judged by a talented team of writers, nutritionists, and designers including Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules, Robert H. Lustig, M.D., professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Andrew Vande Moere of Information Aesthetics, and Laura Brunow Miner of Pictory.

For those of you still looking for inspiration on how to solve the complex design and nutrition problem, Diana Jou, of News21, asked Michael Pollan and Andrew Vande Moere for their thoughts. Here's what Pollan had to say:

News21: What is wrong with the current nutrition label?

Michael Pollan: The focus on nutrients is probably inevitable but it distracts from the issue, which is whether you're getting real food or not. Fiber, for example, is a slippery category. There are different types, and so manufacturers can game the system by adding irrelevant inert materials to food. Soluble and insoluble are different and the fiber in grain or fruit, for example, is important possibly because of what accompanies it, so how do you capture that?

News21: How would you change the nutrition label to help consumers make healthier, more informed choices about the food they eat?

Pollan: This is your job, but think about how to capture degree of processing. Read Carlos Monteiro's stuff on this.

And here are Andrew Vande Moere's thoughts:

News21: What is wrong with the current nutrition label?

Andrew Vande Moere: Numbers, percentages, hard-to-understand nutrition terminology, difficult-to-compare proportions. People do not tend to choose what to buy or what to eat by interpreting mathematical values or comparing chemical compounds.

News21: How would you change the nutrition label to help consumers make healthier, more informed choices about the food they eat?

Vande Moere: I would propose to take the knowledge gathered from marketing, social psychology, economics, and visualization—in particular those that have investigated the value of attractive, compelling, persuasive labels, logos, branding and the presentation of products— and exploit this knowledge to better inform consumers in an informative as well as enjoyable way.

To read more about the project, including input from Laura Brunow Miner and Robert H. Lustig, check out News21's Rethink the Food Label.

And be sure to send us your designs here.

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.