The Ration

A UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism project on food and health. This is our graphics notebook.
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From: Allyson Cesario

I teach nutrition ed to kids and they need to see:
4g=1tsp near the sugar and fat amounts.

I do like red/yellow/green on the macronutrients
I don’t like red/yellow/green as an overall judgement

Message: Hey folks,

I do like where your minds are headed with these ideas but think you need to get an R.D. on board. I have a degree in Dietetics, but I have not finished my internship nor taken the R.D. exam yet, but I have a couple ideas.

Include some sort of warning or explanation for certain nutrients. Try to promote eating the good foods instead of denying the bad. People have an easier time of being told what to eat instead of being told ‘no’ all the time. Example, for fiber, make a note of its benefits and what it promotes. Outline the idea that USFAs are a good thing in moderation. Most people will never meet any elitist standards, but I think if they can get more of the good stuff (fiber is key), they will automatically be forced away from the bad. Please feel free to contact me with comments or questions.

Thank You and Good Luck,

David Havrilla

From: Sarah Logan

When I read the NY Times article about new labels being proposed I was thrilled, my excitement was short lived. Given that some of these labels might actually be considered, or some of their design aspects, I grew alarmed. Missing from all of these labels, and the current label we have now, is the requirement that grams of potassium be listed. Before my kidney transplant I had to count certain nutrients against a medically directed daily allowance, protein, sodium, and potassium being the main ones. Proteins and sodium are fairly simple once you learn the basics, however potassium is not. Unfortunately it is often used in food as a hidden flavorant, particularly in “low sodium” foods. High potassium levels pose a real medical risk for persons with kidney failure, one that can lead to an acute medical event, not the chronic damage that comes with sodium. Prior to my kidney transplant I was rabid about counting my daily grams of potassium, consulting the USDA nutrient data before meals etc. and I still landed in the ER with dangerously high potassium.

Any food label that does not include the grams for each labeled nutrient (including vitamins and minerals) per serving is a waste of space. The simpler the label is the better, most of the redesigned labels created visual noise, which distracted from essential information. I’m including the front runners in this critique.

I suppose this is more of plea than an inquiry, please include potassium and please keep nutrient grams. Percentages mean nothing when your diet is medically modified.

Thank you for your concern, we hope these designs might help inspire the FDA on their very well-researched journey to rethink the nutritional facts label. 
I agree that there are some designs that are outlandish, fanciful, and in some cases a not helpful at all.
Even so, we are thrilled to see designers and the public passionate about this issue and pushing the boundaries of what a food label can be. We hope these designs will foster a dialogue that will lead to a better label. 
Thank you for your feedback, and all my best, 
Lily and the Rethink Team

Public Health Controversy

colorful, wonderful


Periodic Table of Heavy Metals
Very Clever.

 Chris Dellavedova  Shark Week

Very Clever.


Chris Dellavedova
Shark Week

Rethink The Food Label announces the winners today and launches voting for the People’s Choice award. 


Prototype design by Lily Mihalik

The Cow says MOOOO.

The Ration thinking about the MEAT WE EAT. More soon!

Cool graphic from the USDA. It’s throw back time at The Ration.

loving this new take on traditional landscapes.


Monika Traikov