Tip #6: Understanding the Nutrition Facts Label
The current nutrition facts label on packaged foods has been out for 20 years yet people still get confused on how to fully use all the information. But I have to give it to them – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so many ways to learn for yourself how to navigate around a food label. This infographic is pretty helpful:
(If the above copy is too blurry for you to read, click here for a clearer version)
Still not fully sure? If you are like me, I love watching videos to learn. This video talks about the 5/20 rule on food labels, which makes the daily value percentages mean more to you:
Proposed Nutrition Facts Changes
The FDA has proposed updates to the current food label. Everything you just learned above is still applicable, but they are also proposing to change the daily value percentages to more accurately reflect current research. Some of the highlights to the changes include:
--> Larger print for calories
--> Serving sizes to more accurately reflect realistic amounts
--> Daily values to be on the left side of the label vs. the right side
--> Require information on “added sugars.” This will help you differentiate sugar naturally occurring in the food vs. added for things like taste and preservation.
--> Require percentages of potassium and vitamin D since they have been declared “nutrients of concern” for Americans. Calcium and fiber are already declared, which are the other 2 in that category.
--> Requirements for some products to have both “per serving” and “per container” information
No need to imagine what it would look like because here is the current (LEFT) and proposed label (RIGHT) side-by-side so you can get an idea of the changes.
What do you think of the proposed changes? Like it or loathe it? Make your voice heard before June 2, 2014 by commenting here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2012-N-1210-0002
After these changes get approved (which is expected), there will be a 2 year grace period for food manufacturers to get their labels updated.
Here at Lemond Nutrition, we are thrilled at the new proposed changes. They are going to reflect more current science, the information will be more applicable for today’s consumers and it is easier to navigate. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics released a press release late last month applauding the proposed changes.
To read more on the proposed nutrition facts label, visit the FDA website. Other information that may be of interest regarding this topic:
Do you use the nutrition facts label? What do you look for? What information do you wish was on there that is not currently? We would love to hear from you!
March is National Nutrition Month! We have committed to do 14 blog posts that tackle an important topic in food and nutrition. To see all the posts we have done including some from previous years, click on “National Nutrition Month” under blog category.