Food for Thought: black bean counting

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So, are you a bean counter? Okay, not the bookkeeper/accountant kind of bean counter, but someone who counts the nutritional value of your beans.

If you read the labels on the food you buy, you may have noticed not all beans are created equal. At least not in the eyes of the folks who make those labels.

We have links to the labels from 16-ounce bags of dried black beans from two stores.

The serving size for each is a quarter cup. That’s important, because the stores base the rest of the info on that serving size.

One bag of beans has 70 calories per serving. The other has 100.

The beans with 70 calories have 20 milligrams of sodium. The other beans have no sodium, but they have 5 grams of good old fiber per serving, or about 20 percent of what you should have in a day. The label on the bag says those beans have 15 grams of fiber, or 60 percent of your daily requirement. That’s three times more than the other beans.

Protein and iron have different values, too.

So how does this happen?

Blame it on a Food and Drug Administration formula that gives food producers wriggle room in their calculations.

The FDA also says a serving size is what people 4 years old or older will consume when they sit down to eat.

After looking at these labels, it might be a good idea to do your own bean counting and add it to your collective food for thought.