One of the first things you may notice during your next grocery stop is the new Nutrition Facts Label changes made this year. The Food and Drug Administration has set new guidelines for the Nutrition Facts Label that require it to include updated nutritional information based on the make-up of a healthy diet. These new guidelines are required to be adjusted and printed onto all imported foods, as well as foods made in the U.S. beginning this year.
There are a number of changes that have been made to the label. The most notable has to be the prioritization of the total calorie count. This value now has the largest text font on the label, so it should be the first value you see when glancing over the label. In addition to this, the serving size information you’d find just above the calorie total have been reconsidered and adjusted to depict the way Americans are actually consuming their food products. Previously, a small bottle of soda, about 20 ounces, would be considered a single serving. Now, it is considered 2.5 servings.
There were some additional changes made to the calories section of the label. Calories from Fat, once thought to be an important precursor on obesity rates, has been removed. Now, consumers can find the breakdown of the different types of fats that make up the products they purchase. Saturated and trans fats, amongst other new nutrients such as vitamin D and potassium, have been added rather than calories from fat.
Another important change comes from the inclusion of the percentage of calories from sugars in these packaged foods. This information is critical in understanding how these foods are being altered during the processing or packaging stages of their life cycle. This allows consumers to drift away from foods that have large amounts of added sugars as it’s suggested to not consume more than 10% of your daily calories through added sugars.
A number of these changes make it a bit more simple for consumers to make health-conscious choices when purchasing food for themselves and their families. However, it is also important to be educated regarding the ingredients list of the foods you plan to purchase. There are a number of ways that these ingredients have been masked to seem more healthy than they truly are, so remember to stay vigilant when purchasing your food products.
Author bio: John Hinchey is VP of Sales for Westfalia Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and warehouse automation.