Our nutrition fact labels on our food packages just got updated by the FDA. It has been a couple of decades since the last update so this is way overdue. The most significant changes are:
- “Added sugars” are distinctly broken out on the label from naturally occurring sugars – You pick up a cup of packaged yogurt. It says 20 grams of sugar. How much of it is from the milk and how much is from added sugar? Now we’ll be able to see precisely what we’re getting and whether it’s natural or not. This is so important! After all, sugar is now understood to be our arch enemy provoking an inflammation response that leads to diseases and all kinds of blood sugar havoc.
- More realistic serving sizes – You open a pint of ice cream. The serving size used to report nutrition for 1/2 cup. But most people eat 2/3 of a cup. Now the label serving sizes are updated on food packages to more accurately reflect what people usually eat. Those who consume a 12-ounce bottle of soda need to see how much sugar, etc. they are really getting without having to do math calculations based on an 8-ounce serving. The new labels will show nutrient values for what folks actually eat, not what they should eat.
- Required nutrients have been changed – Vitamin A and vitamin C are no longer required on the labels, but manufacturers can add them voluntarily. New will be the addition of Vitamin D and Potassium totals. You are more likely to be at risk for these nutrients than the A and C. Blood pressure is helped by potassium and bone health requires adequate amounts of vitamin D. These are hot button issues for the American public.
- Actual amounts of nutrients are shown – The percentage of daily value has now been joined with actual measures of the nutrients. This is a real plus for consumers because the % daily values are so controversial and possibly meaningless to many. More to the point is how much of a nutrient is in the food in recognizable measurements.
See the comparison between the old label and the new labels which food manufacturers are required to comply with by July 2018:
Learn more at the FDA Labeling & Nutrition web page.