March is National Nutrition Month® and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages consumers to put their best fork forward by using the Nutrition Facts label. The FDA recently finalized a new and improved Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods and beverages to better help consumers make informed food choices that support a healthy diet.
Key Updates for Smart Food Choices
The Nutrition Facts label has a fresh new design and reflects current scientific information. Check out the changes and follow these easy tips to use the label!
- Size Up Servings
The number of servings per container and the serving size is more prominent on the label, and serving sizes have also been updated to reflect what people actually eat and drink today.- Tip: Always check the serving size to determine how many calories and nutrients you are consuming. The nutrition information listed on the Nutrition Facts label is usually based on one serving of the food.
- Consider the Calories
Calories are important to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, so the new label emphasizes calories with larger and bolder type. Calories from Fat will no longer be listed because research shows the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount.- Tip: 100 calories per serving is moderate and 400 calories per serving is high.
- Use % Daily Value as a Guide
The Daily Values for nutrients have been updated based on new scientific evidence. The Daily Values are amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed each day and are used to calculate the % Daily Value (%DV). The %DV makes it easy for consumers to tell how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet.- Tip: 5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is low and 20% DV or more of a nutrient per serving is high.
- Choose Nutrients Wisely
Added sugars is now required on the label to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product. Vitamin D and potassium are also required on the label because Americans do not always get the recommended amounts. Vitamins A and C are no longer required since deficiencies of these vitamins are rare today.- Tip: Use the label to choose products that are lower in nutrients you want to get less of (i.e., saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars) and higher in nutrients you want to get more of (i.e., dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium). And, aim for less than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugars.
When You’ll See It
Manufacturers will need to use the new label by July 26, 2018, and small businesses will have an additional year to comply. During this transition time, you will see the current Nutrition Facts label or the new label on products.
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