If you’ve ever thought that nutrition labels are confusing, some good news: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing some new changes that may help some people make healthier choices.
The proposed changes will include a makeover to the “Nutrition Facts” portion of the label that would, according to CNN, “place a bigger emphasis on total calories, added sugars and certain nutrients, such as Vitamin D and potassium.”
The new label would take away the “calories from fat” line and instead place a larger emphasis on calories found in each serving. It would also note the level of added sugar more prominently.
In addition, the label would “update the daily values for certain nutrients such as sodium, dietary fiber and Vitamin D. For instance, the daily limit for sodium was 2,400 milligrams. If the new rules take effect, the daily value will be 2,300 milligrams,” administration officials said via CNN.
In addition, the FDA wants to see changes to serving size requirements to help people make better choices when consuming: “For example, if you buy a 20-ounce soda, you’re probably not going to stop drinking at the 8-ounce mark. The new rules would require that entire soda bottle to be one serving size — making calorie counting simpler,” says CNN.
Some are in approval of the FDA’s proposed changes – but many groups, such as the American Heart Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest – noted that there was more the FDA should do, such as lower the recommended daily intake for sodium and include a daily value for sugar so that sugar-laden products would be more alarming on paper.
“Thus, the Nutrition Facts label for a 16.9-ounce bottle of soda would indicate that its 58 grams of added sugars represents 230 percent of the DV,” says the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
In other words, the proposed changes are a good start — but there’s still a lot the FDA could do to make choosing healthy foods easier for people!
The FDA has 90 days to receive public comment on these proposed changes, which will then follow with new rules. According to CNN, “Officials said they hope to complete the process this year. Manufacturing companies will then have two years to implement the changes.”
Let the FDA know what you think about these new rules – and remember that the nutrition facts portion of the label is only part of the story. Be wary of marketing terms on food labels, read ingredients lists, and make your own measures beyond what you’re recommended – so much of what is recommended to us is still too much (think sugar, salts, and fats)!
Image source: Joe Loong / Flickr