The next time you pick up a bag of chips at the grocery store, flip it over and look for the new nutrition label.
The Food and Drug Administration announced that nutrition labels would be receiving a makeover that reflects new scientific findings. The changes will ultimately help you make better-informed choices about foods you and your family eat.
The new labels will only be required of manufacturers who sell more than $10 million in food a year. Companies in this category have until 2020 to adopt the new label. Some manufacturers have already incorporated the new label into their packaging, so it might already look familiar if you’re a frequent label checker.
One of the most noticeable changes comes with the serving size and calories. Serving sizes have been adjusted to reflect how much people actually eat, rather than an arbitrary number some companies were perviously using to skew their numbers lower. Plus, when a package contains more than one serving, you’ll be told how much is in each serving, as well as in the entire package. With 40 percent of Americans now obese, the FDA considered emphasizing these numbers an important update.
New nutrition labels will also be more transparent about added sugar. The FDA dietary guidelines recommend people have less than 10 percent of their daily caloric intake from added sugars. “Calories from fat” have been removed because researchers have shown that it’s the type of fat — not fat in general — that is important.
Vitamins A and C are no longer required to be listed on the label. The have been replaced with Vitamin D and potassium. That’s because most people get enough of the former nowadays, but not enough of the latter.
The FDA also includes a footnote on each label clarifying what “percent daily value” really means.
Both labels are still effective at telling you what you’re eating, so don’t forgo checking until 2020. Always check. The more you knowledge you have about what you’re putting in your body, the better.