Raise your hand if you are an expert food label reader.
Most likely not too many hands flew up, but that’s okay. The FDA is currently looking to give the current food labels a makeover so they are of more use to consumers.
Here are some of their proposed changes:
Sodas typically come in 16 or 20 oz bottles. Since it is all in one nice little bottle it has got to be one serving, right? Wrong. A serving of soda is 8 oz, meaning there can be 2-2.5 per bottle! The new revisions would make the label be for one full bottle, not one 8 oz serving. This would make it easier for consumers to know the calories and nutrients they were taking in. I mean, how many times have you eaten something and realized it was actually more than one serving? I sure have. You take in a lot more than what you intended to!
The “calories from fat” line will be removed. Instead, the focus will be put more on the total calories. The type of fat that the food contains is also more important than the number of calories from fat. Don’t worry, the breakdown of total, saturated and trans fat will still be there for you to view. Still really want to know the calories from fat? Just multiply the total grams by 9 (there are 9 calories per gram of fat).
Added sugar will be added to the labels. I love this! There is a difference between naturally occurring sugar and what has been added. This addition will make it super simple to see where the sugar is coming from. You will be surprised what foods have sugar added. Try to limit your total added sugar intake to half of your daily discretionary calories, about 150 for men and 100 for women.
Daily values will also be updated. For instance, the daily limit for sodium will be lowered from the current 2,400 mg to 2,300 mg.
Vitamin D and potassium will be added. This is perfect because of the importance of good bone health and keeping blood pressure in check, both of utmost importance in today’s world.
Serving sizes will be getting re-vamped, too. When I eat ice cream, I sure don’t eat the measly ½ cup serving, I eat more. So, for example, the serving size of ice cream will be increasing. On the other hand, some foods like yogurt will be decreasing. (I challenge this one though…. I eat a lot more than one serving of yogurt too!)
Companies will have 2 years to give their nutrient labels a makeover. Hopefully this will help Americans with the current health epidemics going on today.
Recently the percentage of people looking at nutrient labels have gone up (34% in working adults ages 29-68 and 52% in those over 68. ) Hopefully these changes will keep those number climbing!
What do you think of these revisions? Will they help raise awareness of nutrition? Or will people still skip the panel because it looks too confusing? Let me know your thoughts!