For the past two years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working on updating the nutrition labels on all packaged foods. According to The Washington Post, the label overhaul has completed, and manufacturers are required to have the new labels on their products by July 28, 2018. The revision has been a topic of considerable debate among consumers, food lobbyists and scientists. Here are the changes you can expect to see.
- Serving sizes: The most controversial update – serving sizes will now indicate what people currently eat instead of what the food companies deem reasonable. In general, the sizes will be much larger than in the past, which raises concerns that the new labels will lead to overconsumption and weight gain.
- Calories: New labels will emphasize caloric count, and they will display it in huge letters.
- Added sugars: The FDA added this category due to recent guidelines recommending that Americans reduce their sugar intake.
- Multi-serving products: Food items that people could consume either all at once or in multiple sittings will now have nutritional information per serving as well as per package.
- Odd-sized packages: Some products contain between one and two servings. The new labels will consider them one serving.
- Sodium and dietary fiber: New recommended daily amounts that call for less sodium and more fiber will be the basis of the percentages of these two constituents. Consumers should be aware that this doesn’t mean the recipe of the food product has changed.
- Vitamin D and potassium: While the old labels had the percent daily values, the new labels will include the gram amount.
- Vitamin A and C: Deficiencies of these vitamins are rare, so the labels will no longer show their content.
- Fat: The “Calories from Fat” line will no longer appear. Instead, the label will provide “Total Fat” along with the subcategories of “Trans Fat” and “Saturated Fat.” To learn more about unhealthy fat, see Could Vegetable Oils Be Contributing to Kidney Disease and Other Health Problems?
- Percent daily values: As in the old label, the explanation of this will still appear, but it will be briefer.
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