Nutrition Labels are Going to Change
Did you know that changes are coming to the looks of our food nutrition labels and what information will be displayed? The FDA has given most food makers another year to implement the changes, so we will start seeing them on store shelves in the coming months. Some food companies have already started to implement the changes.
One of the key changes is increasing the visibility of Total Calories by the use of larger and bolded font. Even better than having the total calories listed per serving, the new labels will reflect total calories per package/container for many products that contain more than a single serving. This allows people to quickly evaluate caloric cost if they consume more than a single serving. For example, if a bag of chips has 150 calories per serving and 6 servings in the bag – that’s 900 calories. From a health perspective, it’s important to look at the bag and decide if it’s realistic that you will eat that one bag over 6 separate instances. If you think that bag is going to be gone in 2 snack sessions – do you really want to buy something that will be a 450 calorie snack? Probably not. The new labeling should make it easier for you to quickly decide if a food or beverage will be a good choice.
Also related to serving size, for packages that are between one and two servings, such as a 20 ounce soda or a 15-ounce can of soup, the calories and other nutrients will now be required to be labeled as one serving because people typically consume it in one sitting.
Another change that we’re particularly excited about: added sugars will be included in the new labeling in both grams and Percent Daily Value. This is a good addition to food labeling, as added sugars are not beneficial to our health and should be avoided whenever possible. Now it will be more apparent which foods contain a lot of added sugars and may sabotage our weight loss efforts.
Another change is that the new labeling will omit Calories from Fat. Research indicated that it’s confusing for consumers as it doesn’t really provide usable or relatable information. (The new labeling will still have “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat”.) There will be changes to the nutrients required on food labels and daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D are being updated based on newer scientific evidence from the Institute of Medicine and other groups.
Overall, we are encouraged that the new labeling will bring more clarity to serving size and how many total calories are in a package. As you’ve likely experienced, many people often choose a larger portion size than the stated serving size. Portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time, and is frequently more than one serving according to the food label. You may be surprised to know that one piece of bread is considered a serving (so your sandwich is two servings) and the serving size of cheese is only the size of a domino! Big portion sizes can mean you’re getting more food than your body needs to maintain a healthy weight, so pay attention to those nutrition labels. We think these new changes will make monitoring food choices a bit easier. And as always – please get in touch with us if you have specific questions!