Revised nutrition facts label to support consumer health

New label emphasizes calories, serving size and added sugars

Nutrition Facts labels are found on the backs of all packaged foods, from Gatorade bottles to bags of tortilla chips. The iconic image of the black and white rectangular box was first introduced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993. Since then, a lot of things have changed in the American diet. 

People are eating larger portions of certain foods, and rates of obesity, heart disease and stroke remain high. On May 20, 2016, the FDA announced the new Nutrition Facts label to reflect new scientific information supporting the link between diet and chronic diseases.

What will change?

The Design
  • Larger, bold font for “Calories”, “Servings per container”, and “Serving size”.
  • Calories from fat will no longer be listed. Research, according to the FDA, has shown that type of fat is more important that total amount of fat.
  • Footnote will change to better explain what percent Daily Value means. It will read: “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”
Serving Sizes

Some serving sizes will increase in order to better reflect what people are actually eating. For example, the serving size for ice cream will change from ½ cup to 2/3 cup. The reference amount used for soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces.

Added Sugars

For the first time, “Added sugars” will be included beneath “Sugars”. Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your daily calories from added sugar.

Daily Values & Nutrients
  • Daily Values for dietary fiber, Vitamin D, and sodium will be required in order to help people put nutrition information in context of their entire day’s intake.
  • Vitamin D and potassium will be added since surveys have demonstrated that many Americans are not getting enough of these nutrients in their diet. Calcium and iron will continue to be required.
  • Vitamins A and C will no longer be required, but can be included on a voluntary basis.

Manufacturers will need to use the new label by July 26, 2018. However, manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have an additional year to comply.

To learn more about the nutrition label, check out this interactive label developed by Michigan State University Extension.

Anna Kiefer completed a community nutrition dietetic internship rotation with MSU Extension Grand Traverse County. Interviewing a local elected official and completing this article was one of several competencies met during her rotation with MSU Extension. Anna is enrolled in the Coordinated Masters of Science / Dietetic Internship program at Grand Valley State University.

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