New Nutrition Facts Label
Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated its implementation over 22 years ago, the Nutrition Facts label has remained relatively unchanged. However, last Friday May 20th, the agency announced major changes to the label with the hopes to aid consumers in making healthier food choices. Even though we will not see the new Nutrition Facts label until 2018, the following are the most important changes to take note of for grocery store trips in the future.
1. Bigger & Bolder Calories
Given the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, the amount of calories per serving is now a heightened focus. The hope is that the larger font will grasp our attention and perhaps make us more mindful of our caloric intake.
2. Serving Size Update
The serving sizes of our food have not been revamped since 1993, and are therefore getting a much-needed makeover in order to better reflect the consumption habits of today’s society. For example, products that are typically eaten within one sitting will now list nutrition information both per serving and per container.
3. Introducing “Added Sugars”
A line for “added sugars” will appear on the new Nutrition Facts label under the “Total Sugars” category. The current Dietary Guidelines recommend that we eat less than 10% of their calories from added sugars, and the goal of providing this information is to help guide our consumed added sugars below this threshold. Additionally, it will be easier to differentiate products with natural sugars, such as those found in many fruits, as opposed to unnatural, added sugars commonly found in unhealthy, processed foods.
4. Removal of “Calories from Fat”
As a country, we are finally getting over our “fat phobia” and recognizing that it is less about the amount of fat and more about the types of fat we are consuming. Therefore, the FDA has decided to remove this label in the hopes that consumers focus on eating healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (found in nuts and avocados) and limit their intake of unhealthy, saturated and trans fats.
Here is a link to more information and a way to see the old and new Nutrition Facts labels side by side.