Did you know it has been over 20 years since the last major overhaul of the nutrition facts panel/food label? Think about how much nutrition research has also evolved during this time, as well as how eating patterns have changed. Yesterday the FDA released the long-awaited proposed nutrition facts panel information.
Here is a recap of some of the proposed updates:
- Calories would be more dominant (large and bold print) on the label. This will help easily identify the number of calories in the food and is a good start, but it’s also important to remember where the calories come from- carbohydrate, fat or protein, and how much of each the food contains.Think of it as bang for your nutrition buck!
- Calories from fat would no longer be listed on the label, suggesting that research has evolved to a point that the type of fat is more important than the total amount of fat. This is good news for foods that have been “penalized” in the past for having too many calories from fat even though the food may have been an overall nutrient-rich choice. This label change may encourage the end the “fear of fat” era.
- Serving sizes would reflect a more realistic depiction of the amount of foods people tend to consume. In addition, products that may be consumed in one or multiple sittings will show “dual column” to indicate the “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information. Both of these will be useful for understanding how much of a food to consume.
- Added Sugars would be added to the label, which is indicative of the ever-growing body of literature regarding the health risks associated with added-sugar intakes.
- Vitamins and minerals would highlight current nutrients of concern/interest on the label. Vitamin D and potassium would be required, calcium and iron would remain on the label and vitamins A and C would be optional.
- Daily Values would be revised for a variety of nutrients including sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D to reflect research findings among these nutrients.
You can view the pre-publication PDFs for the Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Label and the Serving Sizes of Foods that can Reasonably be Consumed at One-Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendments, and the published rulings will be available March 3rd. In addition, the public is able to comment on the proposed changes in both documents during the 90-day comment period. It is a time to weigh in on how you feel this will impact you personally and as a health professional encouraging clients to make healthy food choices.
We’d love to also hear what you think about the changes! How do you feel these changes will impact client motivation and action? How will it affect your personal nutrition choices?