By Betty Murray
The FDA is proposing changes to nutrition labels on packaged food and beverage products. These changes are intended to help consumers make better food choices.
Calorie information on the new labels will be larger and easier to read, with an emphasis on total calories. The old labels show calories per serving and calories from fat per serving. New labels remove the “calories from fat” and instead emphasize total calories. Added sugars, vitamin D, calcium, iron potassium will also appear on the new labels.
Daily values for some nutrients, such as dietary fiber, vitamin D and sodium will also be updated. The old daily limit for sodium was 2,400 milligrams, but if the new regulations take effect, the daily limit for sodium will change to 2,300 milligrams.
Perhaps the most significant change is the overhaul of size requirements. Take, for example, a 20-ounce beverage product. If you look closely at the old labels, that particular product might contain two or 2.5 servings. Calorie count and other nutritional information is broken down per serving, meaning you’d have to do the math to figure out just how many calories you were consuming.
New regulations would require that the entire 20-ounce product be marked as one serving size, and the calorie count would reflect the total amount of calories contained in that bottle.
Benefit to the consumer
It is conceivable that the way the old labels read, consumers would easily miscalculate their daily caloric intake. Having a clear understanding of the actual amount of calories, fat and nutrients you take in on a daily basis is the first step in knowing just how many calories you need to cut in order to start losing weight.
If you were glance at a nutrition label and see the product contains 100 calories, but fail to note that the package contains two servings, you could be taking in double the calories you think you are (assuming you eat the entire package).
Changes in nutrition labels have no bearing on the nutrition facts of whole foods like produce. If you shop the outside aisles of the grocery store (where all the healthiest foods are found), chances are, you won’t be purchasing many products have contain nutrition labels.
Keep in mind that it’s important that you always pay attention to not only the nutrition labels but the ingredients list on any non-whole food products you purchase. The healthiest foods do not contain a laundry list of ingredients you cannot pronounce.
Proposed changes to nutrition labels have not taken yet effect, so you will not see the changes reflected on items in the grocery store just yet.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.