The latest nutrition label news

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition

In order to help consumers make healthier choices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made some changes to that nutrition label you’ve gotten used to scrutinizing. The FDA hopes that the additions and updates will make your detective work a lot easier during your journey to better health, weight loss and weight management.

“For more than 20 years, Americans have relied on the Nutrition Facts label as a leading source of information regarding calories, fat and other nutrients to help them understand more about the foods they eat in a day,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a press release. “The updated label makes improvements to this valuable resource so consumers can make more informed food choices–one of the most important steps a person can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity.”

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The first thing you might notice on the new Nutrition Facts label is that “calories” and “servings” jump right out at you. The numbers are more prominent, so a quick gander can give you the basics if you’re in a hurry.

You’ll also see a change in the serving size. How many of us have looked at a label only to see that the actual serving is for two when we clearly (and with ease) ate the whole package ourselves? The last time serving sizes were adjusted was in 1993, according to the FDA, but the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act requires that serving sizes be based on what people actually eat. That bottle of soda is now considered one serving, because–let’s be honest–all 20 ounces are guzzled on a hot summer day. The new regulation doesn’t give you carte blanche to chug a sugary soda, eat a whole block of ramen-style noodles and eat every potato chip in that bag, but it will open your eyes to what you would consume if you treated the container like a meal-for-one.

nutrition label
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the current and new Nutrition Facts labels. To see the specifics on what changed, check out this infographic from the FDA.

Source: www.fda.gov

“I am thrilled that the FDA has finalized a new and improved Nutrition Facts label that will be on food products nationwide,” first lady and nutrition champion Michelle Obama said, according to the FDA. “This is going to make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices.”

Another change? You can kiss “calories from fat” goodbye! The FDA has determined that the type of fat (unsaturated, saturated or trans fats) is more important than the percentage of calories that comes from fat. (Get the skinny on the different types of fats right here.) Daily values of sodium, fiber and other nutrients will now reflect the Institute of Medicine recommendations and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Has the “DV%” always thrown you a little? The FDA has thoughtfully included a footnote to explain daily value percentages better.

The FDA has also created new nutrition measurements to reflect what is overeaten or lacking in the typical American diet. A daily value percentage will be included for added sugars on the new label. “It is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugars, and this is consistent with the scientific evidence supporting the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” according to the FDA. Learn how to cut back on added sugars here.

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Many Americans face chronic illnesses from low vitamin D and potassium, so in addition to the daily value percentage, the amount in grams will be expressed on the new labels. The daily value of vitamins A and C won’t be a requirement on the new label since fewer people have issues with low values.

No need to stress about the changes! As you continue on your weight loss and maintenance journey, you’ll become an old pro at reading labels–you might already be a professor of ingredient lists–but you’ll have plenty of time to learn the new label. The new Nutrition Facts label won’t be required until July 26, 2018. Some smaller brands will get a grace period of one year.

Check out this video of health advocate and First Lady Michelle Obama discussing the nutrition label updates:

Source: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm502182.htm

What do you think about the new changes? Are you looking forward to them or do you think some of the changes are unnecessary? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.