Food Labels: What Changes Are Coming Soon
August 23, 2017
Have you ever picked up an item in the grocery store that looked healthy, turned around to read the label, and just ended up confused? Good news: You will start to see a new and improved Nutrition Facts label on almost all packaged foods by July 26, 2018.
My name is Katie Hake, and as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Indiana University Health, my goal is to help you be a smart consumer. I specialize in working with bariatric patients. In addition to being followed by a team, our patients also receive individualized nutrition counseling to help them make healthy changes long term. Through individual sessions and support groups, we work together to learn more about nutrition, which includes learning how to read food labels.
So, What Will Be New?
- Added Sugars: Sugar naturally occurs in many dairy, grain, and fruit based products. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend we consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars. These will be higher in processed foods or beverages such as sports drinks, candy, and other sweets.
- Nutrients: Vitamin D and potassium will be required to be on the label along with calcium and iron since studies show Americans typically do not consume enough of these nutrients. Vitamins A and C will no longer be listed since deficiencies are rare.
- Calories & Serving Size: These amounts will be more prominent moving forward, listed in a bigger and bolder way for consumers to more easily view. Serving sizes will be revised to reflect what Americans typically consider a portion when it comes to packaged foods. Studies show it is more important to consider the type of fat consumed rather than the amount which is why ‘Calories from Fat’ will also be removed.
- % Daily Value: This percentage provides an idea of how much of a certain nutrient should take up from your typical diet. This can help to identify if a particular serving of food is either high or low in a certain nutrient. A good rule of thumb is if the % DV is less than 5, it is low in that nutrient, and good if above 20.
The Take Home Message?
- Carefully reading food labels can help consumers make healthier choices.
-- By Katie Hake, RD