New FDA Nutrition Labeling
Over the last few months, have you noticed a difference in the nutrition labels of the food you buy? In 2018, the FDA announced the Nutrition Innovation Strategy to reduce preventable death and disease related to poor nutrition. In an effort to empower Americans to make better-informed food choices, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made some major changes to nutrition labels that were implemented earlier this year.
Here are some of the changes you will start to see on food labels:
In order to grab the consumer’s attention, Calories will be in bold and a larger font size. By doing this, the FDA hopes it will help people be mindful of the recommended daily amount. Additionally, the Calories From Fat information is no longer featured because research shows that the “type of fat” is more important to health than the amount.
The FDA is requiring food manufacturers to make realistic serving size figures that reflect the standard serving size for Americans. For example, instead of saying a serving is a half a slice of bread to make the calorie count smaller, the whole product’s serving size will be listed. In addition to getting a larger font size, the new guidelines require two side-by-side columns: one with nutritional information for a single serving, and a second with information for eating the entire package.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of the sodium Americans consume comes from packaged foods and high-calorie restaurant meals. In light of this, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lowered their recommendations for sodium intake per day for people over age 14 from 2,400 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams.
Food manufacturers are now required to call out the amount of added sugar in the food, under the total sugars section on nutrition labels. This will help shoppers determine the amount of sugar derived from natural sources, as well as what was ultimately added during production. However, it is important to note that you will need to review the ingredients list at the bottom of the label to determine the type of added sugar.
Vitamins & Minerals
As we’ve touched on before, maintaining proper vitamin and mineral levels impacts your mental and physical energy levels, and how well your body functions overall. While vital to our maintaining a healthy body, we cannot produce some essential vitamins and minerals and instead rely on absorbing them from our food intake. With this in mind, the FDA discontinued listing information for vitamins A and C because the average American tends to get enough in their daily diet, but added potassium and vitamin D as Americans are less likely to hit recommend daily values of those vitamins and minerals.