By: Lisa Zarny, MS, RD, CD-N, Clinical Nutrition Manager
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to change the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods, the first change in 20 years. The changes will help consumers make better food choices while promoting healthy dietary practices.
The changes are being proposed as additional research reflects a link between diet and chronic diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes and stroke.
Some of the changes include:
- Listing added sugars to the food label. Americans eat too much sugar, which leads to obesity. By providing this information, it will help consumers make better choices related to sugar intake.
- Listing serving size to reflect the amount of food an individual typically consumes. The calorie and nutrition information should be listed for a serving that is eaten in one sitting. An example is a 20 oz. bottle of soda, will be consumed as 1 serving; the Nutrition Label should reflect this as a serving.
- Vitamin D and potassium would need to be listed on the food label. This is due to the emphasis on public health issues for both these nutrients. Vitamin D is important for bone health, while potassium can help with lowering blood pressure. Vitamins C and A would not be required on the new label, but can be included voluntarily by the manufacturer.
- The new proposed food label would also have 2 columns; one column would list nutrients by serving size, the other would list for the entire package.
- In addition, calories and serving size would be listed in larger, bolder print to help consumers make healthier choices about food selections.
- Daily values of some nutrients will be changed, such as sodium, Vitamin D and dietary fiber. It is suggested to lower the daily value of sodium from 2400 mg to 2300 mg per day. This change is due to the link between sodium and high blood pressure.
- Total Fat, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat will continue to be listed on the label. However, Calories from Fat would be removed since research shows that the type of fat is more important than the amount of fat eaten.
These proposed changes will help consumers make healthier choices. The changes will also help decrease the incidence of many chronic diseases that are linked to diet and food consumption. The FDA proposed changes affects packaged foods, except certain meats, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA).
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