With more and more people looking at food labels, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes it might be time for an overhaul of the Nutrition Facts label found on most packaged foods. With the first redesign proposed in over 20 years, the new label is intended to be more relevant to today’s grocery shoppers.
According to the FDA website, portion sizes have changed drastically over the past twenty years and obesity, heart disease, and other chronic diseases influenced by the food decisions we make continue to be major public health concerns.
Of the several changes proposed by the FDA, one thing is clear. Nutrition appears to be becoming less about individual nutrients and more about the diet as a whole. This is clear in the decision to remove the prominent, yet often confusing “calories from fat” information from the label and the suggestion of including potassium information on the new label. In recent years, nutrition experts have found that calories from fat seems to be less important than the type of fat consumed. Total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat will continue to be required on the label. Including potassium on the label also promotes a more holistic approach to healthy eating. When it comes to heart health, blood pressure and hypertension, sodium has often been the nutrient of interest; however, many people fail to get enough potassium which can also play a role in these conditions.
Two other new listings include added sugar and Vitamin D. This is great news for individuals looking to reduce their added sugar intake and for those who struggle to get enough Vitamin D into their daily lives. Both are nutrients of interest and can hopefully help individuals make better, more informed decisions about the food they eat.
Portion sizes are also easier to identify and are more comparable to the amount of foods people actually eat. Daily value information will also be updated for a variety of different nutrients as well and will be more prominently placed on the left side of the label. Ideally, the daily value information will allow shoppers to more easily put nutrition information into the context of their overall diet.
With the proposed changes on the table, the FDA is now seeking public comment. After 90 days, a final rule will be issued and then food manufacturers will have up to two years to implement the required changes.
For more information and to have your voice heard, visit the FDA website.
What do you think about the proposed changes?