What do the labels mean on foods?
During your next grocery run, you may notice changes to the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. The Food and Drug Administration issued new regulations for the Nutrition Facts label to reflect updated scientific information about what constitutes a healthy diet. The new label will be required on all packaged foods made in the U.S. and imported. Here are several changes that are being implemented this year in regard to the Nutrition Facts label.
The calorie count for a serving has been made larger, bolder and more prominent. This makes it easier for consumers to read and determine their caloric intake. Additionally, the serving sizes have been adjusted to more accurately reflect what Americans are actually eating instead of what they should be eating. For example, a 12- or 20-ounce bottle of soda will be labeled as one serving. This is intended to give a more realistic view of the calories individuals are consuming.
Calories from Fat
The FDA has removed the “Calories from Fat” section from the labels because recent studies show that the type of fat consumed matters more than the overall amount. Instead, the new label will display percentages of unhealthy saturated and trans fats. It will also list certain nutrients, such as vitamin D and potassium, since Americans do not always get the recommended quantities. Vitamins A and C are no longer required but can be included on a voluntary basis, since deficiencies of these vitamins are rare today.
In addition to presenting total percentage of calories from sugars, new labels will show the percentage from added sugars — which are sugars that have been introduced during the processing or packaging stages. Knowing this percentage can help consumers choose products that have lower amounts of added sugar. In general, you should not consume more than 10% of your daily calorie intake from added sugars.
Easier for consumers to make informed food choices
The redesigned label makes it easier for consumers to make informed food choices that support a healthy diet. To learn more about the new and improved Nutrition Facts label, see the accompanying infographic.
Author bio: John Hinchey is VP of Sales for Westfalia Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and warehouse automation.