The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), in order to help the public make healthier food choices, has proposed changes to the nutrition fact and supplement labels. The label was first established in 1993 (more than 20 years ago – wow!), therefore, it is well due for a change! Don’t you think?!
The proposed changes include:
- Adding “added sugar” to the label. Added sugars have been in the spot light for quite some time now due to excessive intake causing health related risks including: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc. The daily recommendations for women are to not exceed 100 kcal/day (6 tsp of sugar) and for men to not exceed 150 kcal/day (9 tsp of sugar).
- Adding potassium and vitamin D to the label due to their public health importance. Potassium has been shown to assist with improving blood pressure. Vitamin D has many health benefits including bone health and improved immunity.
- Daily values will be updated for certain nutrients, such as sodium, fiber and vitamin D since their recommendations have changed throughout the past years.
- Calories from fat will be removed from the label because the type of fat is more important than the calories from fat.
- The serving size will be changed based on what people really eat vs what they “should” be eating. Lets face it, who eats only half a cup of ice-cream?! most people eat 1 cup.
- Foods and beverages that are consumed in one sitting will be labeled as a single serving. Example: Gatorade, has on the 20 oz bottle, nutrition facts for a serving of 8 oz. You would need to multiply the facts by 2.5 to get what you consumed in one bottle. The new proposal states that the nutrition facts should use the whole bottle as the serving since most people will drink it all. Same goes for a frozen dinner, chocolate milk, etc.
- Food and beverages that are larger but could be consumed in one sitting will have both calories per serving and calories per whole package on the label. Example: medium size bag of chips, ice-cream pint or 24 oz bottles of fluid.
- Design changes have also been proposed. Mainly changing the location of the DV% (daily value percentage) as well as bigger/bolder calories and servings font.
I have spent years studying nutrition and the effects of healthy diet on the human body. Food labels are like a foreign language and with the government regulations constantly changing it gets pretty confusing. If the numbers and grams aren’t confusing enough, try to identify or pronounce one out of the numerous ingredients that make up your food choices. The only way to ensure that you are getting the best nutrition from your foods is to pick the most nutritious. How do you go about ensuring that you’re making the best choices? It really is easy. The healthiest foods don’t have to be labeled. They are what they are. They are 100% whole foods with no added ingredients nor have they been processed.