Is there different information on the Nutrition Facts Label?
Yes, currently we are seeing two different Nutrition Facts labels. Our current food label is more than 20 years old. The Nutrition Facts label has been updated and food manufacturers will be required to use the new label by July 26, 2018. Some food manufacturers are already using the new label so we are seeing the current food label and the new food label.
So what’s different on the new label? At first glance it may look similar but a lot has changed. Let’s review the changes top to bottom:
- Servings per container, serving size and calories are now larger and/or in bold type.
- Some labels may have two columns to show the amount of nutrients in one serving and the entire package.
- Serving sizes have been adjusted and are now based on the amount of food and beverages that people actually eat, instead of what they should be eating. For example, one serving of ice cream was 1/2 cup but is now 2/3 cup. Soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces.
- “Calories from Fat” is removed. Research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount of fat.
- Daily Values (DV) for sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D have been updated.
- Added sugars is new and listed under total sugars. Added sugars is in grams and as a percent DV.
- Vitamin D and potassium will be required on the label in milligrams and percent DV. This is because people don’t usually get enough of these nutrients.
- Calcium and iron are still required to be listed but will now be listed in milligrams and percent DV.
- Vitamins A and C are no longer required to be listed as percent Daily Value. This is because deficiencies of these vitamins are not common. These may be included by manufactures voluntarily.
A quick way to read a food label is using the Percent Daily Value. As general rule per serving, 5% DV or less of a nutrient is low and 20% DV or more of a nutrient is high. For example, if you see that sodium is 23% DV, you know that is a high sodium product without even reading the grams of sodium.
Here’s another easy way to think about it:
Nutrients to eat less of: saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars
Nutrients to eat more of: dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium
Be on the lookout for the new Nutrition Facts label. It should help you be a more informed consumer and make better decisions about what you are eating.
by Christine McKinney, RD LDN CDE