Image adapted from https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/new-nutrition-facts-label.
The New Nutrition Label
For the first time since it was introduced in 1994, the nutrition label is getting a major makeover. In May 2016, the FDA unveiled new regulations for the label which are based on science, the most recent dietary recommendations and input from the public. Let’s go through the changes so you are able to use the new nutrition label to make the most informed food choices.
What are the changes?
- Updated Serving Size
Twenty years ago, people were eating smaller portions than they do now. Serving sizes have been updated to be more realistic and not mislead consumers about the total nutrient content of the food or beverage. These numbers are based on what is typically consumed, they are not recommendations. Additionally, the Serving Size is now larger and printed in bold type to be easily seen.
On the updated nutrition label, calories are in darker, larger letters—making them the easiest to see on the new label.
As for fat, the type of fat versus the total amount of fat is important for improved health and wellness. For this reason, the label will no longer show “calories from fat,” but will show amounts of saturated and trans fats.
- Added Sugar
With an increase in obesity, diabetes and heart disease, health professionals are making recommendations to limit the amount of added sugars in our diets. The new nutrition label includes added sugars, in addition to total sugars to help consumers choose products with lower added sugars. It’s recommended that less than 10% of daily calories come from added sugars.
- Required Nutrients
Vitamin D and potassium values are now required on the updated nutrition label to encourage consumers to eat more foods that contain these nutrients. Vitamin D is important for bone health and potassium helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. Calcium and iron will continue to be required but vitamins A and C will no longer be on the label, as it appears consumers are doing a better job at eating foods with these vitamins.
- Updated Footnote
On the new nutrition label, the footnote has been made short and simple. The %DV is explained as a symbol to indicate how much of a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily meal plan.
New Dual Labeling Requirement
Some food and drink packages contain more than one serving but may be consumed in one sitting. With the updated nutrition label, packages that hold between two and three servings must now have a dual label that shows “per serving,” as well as “per package” amounts of calories and nutrients.
For the large manufacturers, 2019 was the year to finalize updates for the new nutrition label. Use this guide to understand the new nutrition label and make informed decisions when you’re at the grocery store! For more information, updates and recipes, visit My Food and Family.