8 Changes Required on Nutrition Facts Labels by 2018
For the first time in 23 years, food manufacturers will be required to make changes to nutrition facts labels. Edits span from serving size to added sugars and vitamins. The FDA’s intention is not to tell consumers what to eat, but to make the nutritional information easier to understand for consumers and their families.
1. Serving Sizes:
On the old style labels, serving size was determined by whatever companies thought reasonable. The new serving sizes will reflect what people currently eat. For example: the serving size for ice cream is changing from half a cup to two-thirds of a cup. Additionally, foods that previously had “half” servings like soda will be rounded to a whole serving.
2. Multi-serving products:
Per-serving and per-package values will both be labeled clearly on products that are often consumed as a whole— like a package of pretzels, cheeses, or pastas.
The number of calories is now highlighted with larger numbers instead of being the same size as everything else on the label.
Total fat, saturated fat and trans fat will remain on the label. Calories from fat will be taken off entirely.
5. Sugar vs Added Sugar:
Added sugar is a completely new category, and will be measured in both grams and as a recommended percent of daily value. Now people will be able to tell the difference between sugar that comes naturally in the product (i.e. fruit) and sugar added while processing and packaging. Americans get 13% of their daily calories from added sugars, so the FDA also hopes this incentivizes manufacturers to make healthier foods.
6. Sodium & Dietary Fiber:
New daily value recommendations are changing based on medical research. Fiber recommendation is increasing from 25 g/day to 28 g/day. Sodium is decreasing from 2,400 mg/day to 2,300 mg/day.
7. Vitamins and Minerals:
In the hopes that Americans start to consume more Vitamin D and Potassium, grams will now be included as well as percent of daily value. Vitamin A and C have been taken off the label completely, as deficiencies are now rare amongst Americans.
8. Daily Value Footnote:
Language on this footnote was changed to be more useful for a consumer reading and trying to understand the significance of the values.
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