How the New Food Label is Creating More Educated Consumers
Sometimes, change is good. As is the case with the new food label. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) set out new rules for food labels, the black & white chart on the back of food products that outline the nutrition facts. The new food label comes with a slew of changes, hoping to make consumers more aware of what they are putting in their bodies. Companies are being asked to update their food labels by 2020, but you may have started seeing the new label around already.
According to a study outlined in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation, the new food label can prevent nearly a million cases of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the next 20 years by making buyers more educated consumers. This is estimated to save the healthcare system over $57 billion.
Here are the six big changes to look out for, from the FDA.
- Servings– We have all likely been thrown off by serving sizes. We may look at the nutrients of a food item and not take into account that the serving size may be obscurely small. Now, serving sizes are getting an upgrade to reflect realistic portions. For example, previously, a serving size for ice cream was ½ cup. Now, that has been changed to 2/3 cup.
- Calories– The calories on the nutrition label are now bigger and bolder to stand out to consumers.
- Fats– Previously, next to calories, you would have seen a place for calories from fat. This has now been removed as research suggests, it isn’t how much fat you consume, but rather the type of fat that matters. Types of fat range from those that are very harmful, such as trans-fat, to those that are beneficial for heart health, such as unsaturated fat.
- Added sugars– Organizations such as the American Heart Association raved over added sugar being added to the nutrition label. Moreover, added sugar is being shown as a percent daily value. This will help consumers know how much of what they eat consists of added sugar.
- Nutrients– Out with the old, in with the new. Nutrients that are not widely deficient have been removed as requirements, such as vitamin A & C. On the other hand, nutrients that are commonly low in the American diet, such as vitamin D and potassium, are required to be listed. The FDA hopes this will help improve deficiencies in those nutrients.
- Footnote– At the bottom of the food label, you will find a footnote defining %Daily Value (%DV). %DV shows the percent of a certain nutrient in a product, in comparison to how much of that nutrient you need for the whole day. For example, if a product contains 20%DV of calcium, this means the product contain 20% of the calcium you need for the day. %DV is based on a 2000-calorie diet.