On Friday, May 20, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration unveiled an updated nutrition label to help us make more informed choices about the foods we eat. Food manufactures will be required to use the new label by July, 2018.
Here’s what’s different on the new label:
- The calorie and serving size information is larger and bold.
- The servings sizes are more in line with the amount of food we actually eat. For example, a serving size of ice cream increased from ½ cup to 2/3 cup and with it the calories per serving increased from 145 to 180.
- The amount of added sugar is now included as a separate item.
- Both per servings and per package calorie and nutrition information on multiple- serving food items, like ice cream, chips, etc., is provided on foods where someone could eat the whole package at one sitting. For example, a once ounce serving of potato chips has about 155 calories, but if you eat a whole “party” size bag (13 oz), that’s 13 servings, and over 2000 calories. You’ll now know this without doing the math!
- Vitamin D and potassium content is now included along with the actual amounts in micrograms and milligrams of these, and of calcium and iron. Vitamin A and C contents are gone because deficiencies in these are rare.
- Grams of total fat, saturated fat and transfat are still there, but calories from fat are gone. Research shows the type of fat we eat is more important than the number of calories we get from fat. (If you want to know how many fat calories you are eating, multiply the grams of fat by 9. Fat contains 9 calories per gram of food.)
Source: Food and Drug Administration (2016). Changes to the nutrition facts label. Retrieved May 22, 2016 from http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm
For more information from the FDA on the new food labels:
Joanna Hayden, PhD, CHES is the principal of Associates for Health Education and Behavior, LLC, in Sparta, a practice focused on improving health through education. Her office offers individual and group health education, and individual health behavior change guidance. For more information please see www.associatesforhealth.com To contact Dr. Hayden, email her firstname.lastname@example.org
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