Hi Friends! Happy Monday. I recently wrote an article that is soon to be featured in a professional newsletter, but I thought I should share some key highlights from the article with all of you. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released it’s final rules for it’s overhaul of the nutrition facts label and food manufacturers with more than $10 million in annual food sales are expected to transition to the new labeling format by July 26, 2018. So, what does this mean for you, the consumer? Detailed below are what I consider to be some of the most relevant and significant changes to the new food labels. Let’s take a look:
- Updated Design
While the classic look of the label will remain, many updates have been made to ensure consumers have access to the information they need for making informed dietary decisions:
- Increasing font size for “calories,” “servings per container,” and “serving size.”
- Bolding the “number of calories,” “servings per container,” and “serving size.”
- The footnote section on the label will better explain what the percent daily value actually means to you, the consumer
- Up-To-Date Nutrition Science
The new label will feature the addition of “added sugars,” in grams and percent daily. It’s no secret that added sugars are detrimental to our health. Scientific data has demonstrated a positive association with weight gain and obesity in children and adults. In addition, added sugars have been linked to a variety of other health conditions including heart disease. Research has also demonstrated that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if more than 10% of total daily calories consumed come from added sugars.
Another scientifically relevant update comes with the removal of “calories from fat.” Current research demonstrates that the type of fat consumed is more significant than the amount consumed.
- Serving Size Makeover
Serving sizes must now reflect amounts of food and beverage that people actually consume, not what they should be consuming. Over the years, how much individuals eat and drink has drastically changed since the previous portion size requirements were published back in 1993. Here’s an example of what I mean: The reference amount for a scoop of ice cream was previously 1/2 cup of ice cream per serving. The new nutrition label will reference a 2/3 cup serving of ice cream. While I find it a major bummer that the new label will not reflect the modest portion sizes we should be eating, I think it’s important for consumers to have easy access to accurate information about their food, and this change in serving sizes will allow consumers to make realistic and informed decisions.
- New Labeling Requirements For Certain Package Sizes
Package sizes that are between one and two servings (like a 20 ounce soda bottle) will now be labeled as one serving. This is to reflect the idea that most consumers are not just drinking half of a 20 ounce soda bottle, they are most likely drinking the entire thing. For products that are larger than a single serving but could be consumed in one sitting, manufacturers will be required to provide “dual column” labels to identify the amount of calories and nutrients on a “per serving” and “per package” basis. An example of this new requirement would apply to a pint of ice cream.