Here’s The New Nutrition Label: 5 Things That Are Different.

FDAProposed-Label-Whats-the-Difference-380The food packaging labels are about to get their first face lift in 20 years, thanks to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The changes, announced in a press conference with Michelle Obama, reflect that latest data and scientific findings on nutrition and the links between diet and various diseases.

At first glance, the new labels look quite familiar. But there are a few changes worth noting.

  1. Serving sizes updated to reflect the amount of food people actually eat. Previously, clever marketers could make foods appear healthier by decreasing the serving size. A big of chips, for example, could list the serving as only 11 chips. In reality, most people eat much more. By law, serving sizes will now be based on what people actually eat.
  2. Added sugars listed. Most of us eat way too much sugar, so it’s important to know if sugar has been added to the foods we eat. Though some sugars occur naturally in our foods (for example, the raisins in your cereal), you’ll now know if a manufacturer has added additional sugar. Previously, concerned consumers would need to decipher the ingredients to know if sugar had been added. And with more than 45 names for sugar, this could prove difficult.
  3. Emphasis on calories. Because extra calories turn into extra fat, it’s an important number to track. As such, the FDA has increased the type size for the calories per serving. When you pick up a package of food, it’ll be a difficult number to ignore.
  4. Updated daily values come first. First, the daily values have been updated to reflect the latest nutrition data. Second, those daily values have moved from the left hand column to the right for added emphasis and easier reading.
  5. Changes to nutrients. At the bottom of the nutrition information, the required listings of nutrients has changed to reflect deficiencies in the population. Vitamins A and C are no longer required, but potassium and Vitamin D are mandatory. In addition to the daily value for these nutrients, manufacturers must also list the actual amounts of those nutrients in the food.

Do you welcome these changes? Anything you’d like to see done differently? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. Brandon says:

    The changes are a good step, but still not exactly what I would like to see. Let me start by saying that I enjoy the changes they made, the fact that percentages of DV come first rather than an obscure number, and the amount of calories is large so you know how much of something you can eat without going over your caloric intake. The problems I still see are: 1) Why is it so important we know how many servings are in a particular product? I think the SERVING SIZE is more important and that should be what is bolded. 2) WOW, look I can eat however many Oreos I want and it’s only 230 Calories!!! Or wait…oh, that’s for one cookie? The amount of calories per serving need to be emphasized that it is PER SERVING, (per 2/3 cup, per 1 cookie, etc…) as many consumers think that a calorie number is whatever they want it to be. 3) As a sugar-centric people, sugars should probably be listed on their own line, ABOVE fat. I tend to believe we intake more sugar which causes weight gain than what actual fat does.

  2. christopher says:

    the label should continue to be easy to understand for anyone.make changes-but make it elementary.