What’s New About the Proposed New Food Labels?
Earlier this year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made a formal proposal to update the “nutrition facts” labels on food products to more accurately reflect the current health concerns and eating habits of Americans. These changes will update the current labels that have been around for the past 20 years and will be based on the most current and reliable science.
Americans are now increasingly health conscious and more interested in what’s in their food. Research has shown that between 2007 and 2014, there has been an 8% increase in reading food labels in the age group of 29-68 year olds. Revising the current labels to be more easily decipherable will make it easier for consumers to better understand what to look for when making informed food choices.
The future proposed changes are in the following areas.
Serving Size. Many of the serving sizes will be increased to more realistically reflect how much people actually eat. For example, the current label on a carton of ice cream lists a standard serving as half a cup, but most people typically eat more than half a cup. Read tips to control your portions.
Total Calories. Total calories will be listed more prominently and possibly in bold print towards the top of the new label. The number of calories is one of the most important things to note. While Americans’ waist lines are ever expanding, it’s become increasingly important to pay more attention to calories consumed. It will also make calorie counting easier.
Calories from Fat. This line will be removed from the new labels which will focus more attention on the breakdown of fats. Research shows that the type of fat is more important than the calories from fat. Labels will continue to list total fat, saturated and trans fat.
Sugars. The new labels will note how much added sugar is in the product. At this time, you cannot differentiate how much sugar comes from added sugars versus natural sources found in fruit and milk. This will make it easier for Americans to follow the American Heart Association’s guidelines for limiting added sugar. The recommendations state that men should consume no more than 150 calories a day from added sugar and women no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar.
Daily Values. There will also be updates to sodium, dietary fiber, vitamin D, potassium, calcium and iron. These will be based on the current needs that have changed over the 20 year period.
With more than a third of Americans obese, paying more attention to the labels in their new and improved format is great news! Studies show that people who read labels tend to eat more healthfully. Food knowledge can be a powerful tool!
For information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition services, click here or call 972.560.2655.