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Food Labels Overhauled

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Canada's food labelling system has just gotten an overhaul

Canada's food labelling system has just gotten an overhaul.

But will this make Canadians lighter on the scale or lighter in the pocket?

New Nutrition Facts labels, similar to those in the United States that show calories and amounts of various key nutrients, will be required on all prepackaged grocery foods. It's going to cost an estimated $263 million to set up, with consumers and industry picking up the tab. But Health Canada believes the mandatory nutrition labels will save $5 billion in health-care costs over the next 20 years because people will be making healthier eating choices.

Also on the positive side, the labels will list trans fat content-something American labels don't yet do. Trans fats are toxic, hydrogenated fats linked to disease. Our labels won't, however, indicate the presence of genetically modified ingredients or the amount of sugar.

Although most believe the labels are a step forward, shoppers will still have to read between the lines. New packaging or not, supporting companies that adhere to whole-food philosophies, which focus on high ingredient quality and healthy food processing, remain our best bet for healthy shopping.

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