Do you ever turn a food package to the side and look at the Nutrition Facts? You probably heard that the Nutrition Facts will have a new look for the first time in 20 years!
As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist I use the Nutrition Facts to show families what is in the food they eat and how to read the label. I encourage families to look at the ingredients first to know what they are eating, but when it comes to the numbers there are some changes that will occur in the next 2 years. That's right....food companies have the next 2 years to adjust the printing of their food labels to comply with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new guidelines. The FDA goes through a lot of research-both science and consumer-based, so that we can understand what is in the foods we choose to buy. Here is a list of the changes you will start to see in the next few years.
- The big change is that the CALORIES WILL BE IN BOLD and will be easier to see. This goes hand in hand with the Serving Size. Food companies have always decided what a serving is, but now the servings will be more of the same from product to product. For example: 1 (20 ounce) soda may say 1 bottle is a serving and another soda company may say on their 1 (20 ounce) soda that there are 2.5 servings in their soda bottle. This is why we have to pay attention to servings in the bottle, package or container-it has been tricky!
- Calories from fat will be removed from the Nutrition Facts. Most people look at grams anyway.
- Information on the amount and type of "Added Sugars" is new. Many people look at the sugar grams on the label now, so this may help to know what is natural (from fruit and grains) and what is added (corn syrup, honey, cane syrup and more).
- The % Daily Value or DV will be moved to an easier-to-understand layout. The %DV is important to know how much one serving provides the majority of nutrients we need every day. The DV for total fat, saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, total carbohydrate and fiber are listed on the bottom of the Nutrition Facts already if you would like to start referencing what you eating.
- The DV for sodium has been 2400 mg, but will change to 2300 mg. We eat a lot of sodium in foods, so this may seem like a small change, but small changes are good!
The bottom line is that the Nutrition Facts are there for you to know what you are eating. Don't worry about every food not being perfect because guess what? There aren't any "perfect" foods or "perfect eaters". The best eater chooses a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, some dairy and protein along with plant fats from oils and nuts---most days. And sweets and chips are fine once in a while too. Just read the label to know what you are eating!
To see what's new on the Nutrition Facts label click here!