After 20 years the FDA has finally proposed to change food nutrition fact labels to better reflect today’s health realities. The refreshed design includes bold text for calories, highlighting of Percent Daily Values (%DV), and the rethinking of serving sizes. All important improvements over existing fact labels but does it go far enough?
In this article we’ll explore what all the proposed changes are and also highlight what we think is missing. The FDA has opened up debate on their website and has asked for your feedback. We would also love to hear what you have to think.
A Deeper Insight Into Nutrition Science:
Added sugars – many experts recommend consuming fewer calories from added sugar because they can decrease the intake of nutrient-rich foods while increasing calorie intake.
It is still a mystery why “Sugars” do not include a Percent Daily Value the same as Fat, Cholesterol , Sodium, Carbs, and Fiber. There should be a %DV for sugar so that consumers can better limit the amount of sugars that they consume on a daily basis. This has been debated for years and many believe big sugar industry interests are preventing this from happening. What do you think?
Added Daily Values – added nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and Vitamin D. Daily values are used to calculate the Percent Daily Value listed on the label, which help consumers understand the nutrition information in the context of a total daily diet.
New Declarations – manufacturers are required to declare the amount of potassium and Vitamin D on the label, because they are new “nutrients of public health significance.” Calcium and iron would continue to be required, and Vitamins A and C could be included on a voluntary basis.
Nutrition Removal – “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will continue to be listed on the label. “Calories from Fat” would be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
Proposed Serving Size Changes
What’s considered a single serving has changed in the decades since the original nutrition label was created 20 years ago. Serving sizes will now be more realistic to how much people typically eat at one time. e.g. – soda container sizes that were previously labeled as two servings but are typically consumed in one sitting would now be labeled as one serving.
This makes a big difference on the calorie and nutrition values and is a welcome change. When you eat cereal do you eat just one cup as indicated on the label?