Nutritional labels give us information about the nutritional content of the packaged food. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the food labeling to ensure the safety of the product as well as to educate the consumers about the dietary facts. The FDA has recently updated its “Nutrition Facts label” on packaged foods and drinks based on updated scientific information, research, and consumer’s opinion. This is a major update in the food labeling in the last 20 years to simplify the information to help us to make the informed choices for healthy eating and ultimately for a healthier life.
What is new ?
- Servings per container and serving size information appear in large, bold font. Serving sizes have also been updated to better reflect the amount people typically eat and drink today.
- Calories are now in larger and bolder font to make the information easier to find and use.
- % Daily Values for nutrients have been updated. As a general guide: • 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low. • 20% DV or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high. The footnote at the bottom of the label has been updated to better explain %DV.
- Calories from fat have been removed because research shows the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount. Vitamin A and C are no longer required on the label since deficiencies of these vitamins are rare today
- Added sugars have been added to the label. Added sugars include sugars that are added during the processing of foods or as sweeteners (such as table sugar), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices.
- Vitamin D and potassium are now required to be listed on the label.
FDA says “Make the Label Work for You”
- Always read the label before you purchase the food to see if the content is right for you. For those with food allergies, it is all the more important to read the label about the food allergens and cross-contamination information.
- Limit to one serving size.
- Choose food that has no added sugar
- Increase the intake of food that has high dietary fiber and protein.
- Decrease the intake of food with high sodium, saturated fat.
In addition to obesity, many chronic diseases like Hypertension, Diabetes are directly linked to poor nutrition. There is also a lack of awareness about healthy eating among the general public. Hence it is vital that everyone pays attention to what they eat and becomes an informed consumer by reading the food labels. Food labels are not just another stamp on the box but rather carry key information about what’s inside the box. Reading the label enables one to choose the right plate that is not only satiating but also is nourishing.
Reference : www.fda.gov