Go and grab a food item from your pantry or refrigerator. Look at the nutrition facts label on the back or side of the package. Do you notice something different? Yes? No? Maybe?
There are changes to the nutrition facts label. It has a new look. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the changes are based on new scientific information, including the link between the foods we eat and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label is designed to make it easier for you and me to make better-informed food choices.
If you’re wondering, what in the heck is the nutrition facts label check out an earlier blog post titled “What is the Nutrition Facts Label.” Just click here.
There are 3 big changes to the Nutrition Facts Label I want you to know. In fact, I discussed these changes with Dana Fowle from Fox 5 Atlanta News. (Skip to 1.00 to see me)
Here are the 3 big changes to the nutrition facts label
1. Serving Sizes
The serving size is now based on what people actually eat NOT what you should eat. No need to use a calculator to figure out the serving size anymore. Food packages that hold between one and two servings, the nutrition information is presented on the entire package. If the food package holds between two and three servings and the food item, such as a pint of ice cream, could likely be eaten in one sitting—you may find a nutrition label with two columns. One column will show the recommended serving size (half a cup), and the other will show how much you’re eating if you consumed the whole package.
Dietitian Tip: Just because the serving sizes reflect what people on average eat in one sitting doesn’t mean you should eat that much. For less than healthy foods, keep portion sizes on the smaller side.
2. New Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins A and C are no longer required to be listed on the updated label. These vitamins have been replaced by vitamin D and potassium because Americans don’t get enough of these nutrients.
Dietitian Tip: If you want to know where a food’s nutrients are coming from, take a look at the ingredients list. If a vitamin or mineral is also listed there, it means it was added to the food. Getting vitamins and minerals from foods is generally better for you.
3. Added Sugars
There’s a new line under total sugars for added sugars. Total sugars include the food’s naturally occurring sugars as well as processed sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup. Listing added sugars separately on the label might be an incentive for food companies to reduce the amount of sugar in the food product.
Dietitian Tip: Limit added sugars to 25 grams per day (6 teaspoons) for women and 36 grams per day (9 teaspoons) for men. Sugar substitutes, such as sucralose or stevia, or sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol are not included in the added sugars. If there is a sugar reduction in your favorite food, check the ingredients list for sugar substitutes.
Do you read the nutrition facts label before you buy a food item?