Within the past few years, The Food and Drug Administration made some changes to the Nutrition Facts Label for the sake of encouraging healthier initiatives for consumers. While the changes have been successful in encouraging these initiatives, they were initially made based on research centered around what constitutes a healthy diet for the average American. Consumers have likely noticed some of the changes made by now, but this post will detail some of the most significant changes made in the past few years.
The first change is directly related to the research conducted surrounding a healthy diet: calorie count. The way calories are counted hasn’t been adjusted, but what has been adjusted is the way these calories are displayed. Namely the font associated with these totals has been sized up significantly, making sure that this is one of the first bits of information consumers see when scouring for food products. Within the same section, another change is likely to be noticed by consumers. This change comes in the form of serving size suggestions. Serving sizes have been readjusted based on how the average American actually consumes any given food product and how much of that food product they should actually be consuming. A perfect example of this are the 20-ounce bottles of different sodas. Previously, the FDA deemed that the serving size of these bottles was 20oz, or the entire bottle. Now, the suggested serving size is 2.5 servings per 20-ounce bottle.
Another overarching change found in this section of the label actually came from the FDA’s adjustment of the included fats within any food product. In years prior, the calories contributed from these included fats is what the FDA decided to include within the label. However, more recent research suggests that the calories supplied by these fats don’t make much of a difference. What’s more important is just how much of any given fat is included in the product. Meaning individual trackers for trans and saturated fats are now included for every food product. This was a sweeping change, as even more additional nutrients that the FDA believes most Americans aren’t receiving enough of daily are also included on the label. Nutrients such as Vitamin D, potassium and others that were previously left off now have their very own spot on the label.
In addition to these significant calorie section changes, one more inclusion has been made. The percentage of calories from added sugars in any food product have now been included on the label. For parents with young children, this makes a significant difference in the ability to determine which foods are truly healthy and which are trying to look healthy. Not only that, this shines a light on how these food products are processed and stored. This decision was made as the number of Americans consuming these added sugars exceeds the suggested daily 10%.
As mentioned previously, a number of these changes made by the FDA allow consumers to gain a more complete understanding of the foods they’re purchasing for themselves and their families. Previous iterations of the label weren’t providing all of the details necessary to make the healthiest decisions which lead to new information being included. It should be known that even the FDA suggests that consumers follow up on their findings and spend some time determining which products are right for them and their families on their own as well. Genuine education centered around all of the inputs in our foods can lead to making healthier decisions much more instinctively. If you’re searching for more information regarding the recent changes made to the label, review the infographic featured alongside this post.
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.