Helpful info for a healthier lifestyle
New Nutrition Facts Label

A Sneak Peek at the New Nutrition Facts Label

March 7, 2017
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Have you caught wind that the Nutrition Facts label we’ve become accustomed to for more than two decades is undergoing a makeover? It’s a fact! By July 2018, most manufacturers will be required to update their labels and we thought you’d want a sneak peek at the key changes.

As you peruse the nips and tucks of this makeover, keep in mind that the main thrust of the Nutrition Facts label is to make sure that you have the nutrition information you need to make informed food choices. As you know, nutrition science is constantly evolving and new healthy eating guidelines, like the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, emerge as they did early in 2016.1 These factors came together to influence the label makeover.

The new Nutrition Facts label will change in appearance and will add or delete a few nutrients and vitamins and minerals. The biggest changes, which may help some consumers manage their prediabetes or diabetes, aim to increase the details you have at your fingertips about carbohydrate and added sugars in your foods. Now that’s good news!
 

A Look at the New Nutrition Facts Label from Top to Bottom

Servings and Serving Sizes  Food Serving Sizes
Servings per container and serving size will appear in this order rather than the reverse as they appeared on the previous label. Also, they’ll be in bigger size print to draw attention.

Serving sizes must be based on the amounts of the food or beverage that people usually eat, not the amounts they should eat. The amounts of food people consume have changed since 1993. That means the serving sizes that manufacturers use on the label must change as well.2 For example, the serving on ice cream will increase from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup.

Packages that contain between one and two servings must be labeled as one serving because people typically consume the item in one sitting.

Packages larger than a single serving which could be eaten as one or more servings will have to provide two columns of nutrition facts detailing the nutrition information per serving and per package including information if the entire package is consumed at one sitting.

Calories
The word calories and the number of calories will appear in large, bold print to draw your eyes to it and highlight its importance in making healthier food choices.

Calories from fat will be deleted. That’s because current science suggests that the type of fat a person eats is more critical to preventing chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, than the total fat amount of fat one eats.

Nutrition Facts Label - What is DifferentTotal Carbohydrate, Total Sugars and Added Sugars
Use of the word Sugars will change to Total Sugars. Total Sugars include the total of all types of sugars in foods – those that are naturally in foods plus the added sugars. Added Sugars are those sugars added during the processing and/or packaging of foods. This includes all sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, other syrups and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.3

New to the label and indented under Total Sugars will be the statement, “Includes X (a number of) g (grams) of Added Sugars per serving”. This will allow you to see how much added sugars a serving or whole container (see information above on servings) of the food or beverage contains.

One more bit of new information under Total Carbohydrate will be the percent Daily Value of added sugars that the serving represents within a 2000 calorie per day eating plan.

Although controversial this information about added sugars is due to concerns about the large amount Americans currently eat.1,4 To give you a sense, Americans on average eat about 270 calories, that’s 13 percent of our calories, from added sugars a day or the equivalent of 17 teaspoons of sugar! The bulk of the added sugars we eat, about 39 percent, is from sugar-sweetened beverages and the sugar or other full calorie sweeteners we add to hot and cold beverages.1

What should your added sugars daily goal be? According to the Dietary Guidelines, no more than 10 percent of your total calories for the day should be from added sugars.1 And even less if you need to keep your calories down to stay at or achieve a healthier weight.

A great way to begin eating less sugar is to use one of the SPLENDA® Sweetener Products in place of sugar. A packet of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener is equivalent in sweetness to two teaspoons of sugar but without all of the calories.

Keep in mind, every step you take to lighten your sugar load is a move in the right direction!

The increased focus on reducing excess consumption of added sugars from accumulating research showing there may be health consequences, ranging from an increase in body weight to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and a moderate increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease and high triglycerides.4 The research-based recommendation to add more detail to the total sugars information on the label information was made in the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report and then included in FDA revisions to the label.5

Vitamins and Minerals
The current label provides information on the percent of Daily Value one serving of the food offers of two vitamins, A and C; and two minerals, calcium and iron. On the new label vitamin D will be the only vitamin listed and potassium will be the third mineral listed. These changes were made because deficiencies of vitamin A and C are now rare, whereas today Americans don’t always get enough vitamin D and potassium.

While you’ve got time to get used to the new nutrition facts label, you don’t need to wait a moment to start eating less added sugars today!
 

I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.


Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, is a nationally recognized dietitian and diabetes educator who applies more than 35 years of expertise as an author, freelance writer, media spokesperson, consultant and diabetes educator. Hope notes: “Healthy eating today is one tough job! The good news is that simple tweaks in your food choices and how you prepare foods can often set you on a path to healthier eating. Each positive step is a step in the right direction along the path to a long and healthy life.”

References:

  1. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 8th ed. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines (Accessed August 26, 2016)
  2. Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods that Can Reasonably Be Consumed at One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed; Serving Size for Breath Mints; and Technical Amendmentshttps: http://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2004-N-0258-0136 (Accessed August 26, 2016)
  3. FDA. Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels. Federal Register. 21 CFR Part 101 [Docket No. FDA–2012–N–1210] RIN 0910–AF22 https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-05-27/pdf/2016-11867.pdf (Accessed August 26, 2016) (Section on Total Carbohydrate starts on page 33794)
  4. Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Part D. Chapter 6: Cross-Cutting Topics of Public Health Importance. http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/11-chapter-6/d6-3.asp
  5. FDA. Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm (Accessed March 3, 2017)
March 7, 2017  |  POSTED BY: Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM  |  IN: Healthy Lifestyle

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