For the third time since 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced changes to the nutrition facts label found on packaged foods. The changes were made to reflect new scientific findings, such as the link between a person's diet and chronic diseases like obesity and heart disease. The changes should also make food products' nutritional values easier to understand and help consumers make better informed dietary choices.
The changes are partly a result of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to end childhood obesity within a generation. The campaign called for improved clarity, accuracy and consistency of food package labels to help parents and kids make healthier food choices.
Here are the highlights of what's changed on the label:
- The typeface for calories, servings per container and serving size has increased, and calories and serving size are bolded so they're hard to miss.
- You'll now be able to see when food products contain added sugars, since research has shown it's difficult to stay healthy while adhering to caloric limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar.
- The number of calories from fat will be removed, since research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
- Serving sizes have been adjusted to reflect amounts people actually eat versus what they should eat.
- Per serving and per package columns are required on packaged foods larger than one serving that could be consumed in one or multiple sittings.
Manufacturers are required to implement the new label by July 26, 2018, meaning it might be awhile before you see changes in your grocery store. Hopefully, these adjustments will make it easier for consumers everywhere to get relevant nutritional information and use it to make healthier choices. See the full list of changes at FDA.gov.
If you'd like to learn more about more ways to improve your diet, consult one of our registered dietitians.