The Future of the Food Label

Did you hear the news that was released last week from the FDA (Food Drug Administration) that the food label is getting its most significant update in 20 years? While the changes may not seem that significant to the general public, as a health professional that works everyday to help educate about making healthy changes, I think these changes were overdue. Some of the changes that will appear on the new label:

* The font size will be increased for calories, servings per container, and serving size making it easier for you to see.

* The amount for nutrients Vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium will be listed. This is such a nice addition because it used to be listed as a % Daily Value only so you would have to know how much calcium was recommended on a 2,000 diet to be able to determine the amount of calcium in a single serving.

* Added sugar will be listed on the food label and it will be listed in grams as well as % Daily Value. As you can imagine, not all food manufacturers are excited about this change. This will allow us as consumers the ability to see how much sugar is added to foods like yogurt versus the naturally occurring sugars.

* It is now required that labels list Vitamin D and potassium under nutrients. Currently, those are not required.

* Label is removing calories from fat because research shows that this is not as significant as total fat, saturated fat, or trans fat (all which are staying on the label).

* Serving sizes on the label are based on amounts people usually eat or drink. I am most excited about this change because I feel like the current label is misleading because who really eats on ½ cup ice cream or drinks only 8 ounces of soda? The serving size for soda will be increased to 12 ounces and ice cream to 2/3 cups.

* Foods and drinks that are typically single servings will have to be labeled as 1 serving. The frozen food section will be one area affected by this change because some of the food manufacturers currently label individual frozen dinners as 2 servings per container.

These changes will allow us to continue to make educated choices about how we nourish our bodies. However, we will have to wait because the food manufacturers have until July 2018 before these changes are mandated. Until then, keep shopping smart!

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