Soon, when you grab that favorite packaged food, you might be noticing that the nutrition label has changed. The FDA is requiring nutrition facts label changes to go into effect. What is driving the change and what is included in the change? We will breakdown the basics of the new labels and the impact it has on your health in this article.
Over recent years, more scientific research has come out indicating the role that calories, added sugars as well as vitamins, minerals and nutrients have on the health of Americans. Also, the realistic portion and serving size of what Americans eat at one sitting has changed. Because of this, the FDA is driving new requirements to packaged food labels.
What’s behind the nutrition facts label changes?
New scientific information, research and information from experts is driving the change. Nutrition labels in their current form are a couple decades old, so change is long overdue. The new labeling requirements should help consumers make more informed health choices. It will also help to show the link to consuming certain foods and certain illnesses.
Recent nutrition science information will be better reflected in the new labeling requirements as well. The American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization are all recommending consumers decrease their intake of added sugars. The new labeling supports scientific evidence showing that Americans should reduce their intake.
[Related article: 4 Nutrition Myths Busted!]
What Is Included In The Nutrition Facts Label Changes?
The new labeling requirements apply to packaged foods. Here are some of the changes consumers can expect to see in the new labeling:
- Increasing font size for important information like “calories”, “servings per container” and “serving size”
- Actual amounts of vitamin D, iron, calcium and potassium have to be included (in addition to the already listed % daily value)
- Other vitamin and mineral amounts can be declared by gram, voluntarily
- % daily value will be better explained
- Serving sizes are changing to better reflect what portion sizes consumers are actually eating (which has changed over the years)
- “Added sugars” is now included to help better educate consumers and bring awareness to the amount of added sugars consumed in certain products
From the perspective of a registered dietitian nutritionist, this is a step in the right direction in helping all of us make better informed food choices. Different requirements for compliance are set out based on company revenue and size, however, consumers should see this completely go into effect starting now and lasting into 2021. Imported foods will also have to comply with these new label requirements.
More specifics can be found by visiting: fda.gov.
Regardless of the new labeling requirements, each person still needs to eat based on their own health and wellness needs. For help in determining if your current diet is meeting your nutritional needs, contact the registered dietitian nutritionists at The Nutrition Professionals. RDNs are nutritional experts in their field and can help you break through the changes in the nutrition facts label changes and make sure your diet is meeting your nutritional needs.