The Food and Drug Administration announced a new Nutrition Facts label today—its first major redesign since 1994. The goal of the new label is to “make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices” by including more scientific data, such as the “link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.”
Check out a side-by-side comparison of the old label and the new label:
The FDA also included a graphic pointing out the specific changes:
One of the FDA’s biggest updates is to the average serving size, which will now be “more realistic to reflect how much people typically eat at one time.”
In terms of the actual nutrients, the most significant change is the inclusion of “added sugars.” Per the FDA:
The scientific evidence underlying the 2010 and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans support reducing caloric intake from added sugars; and expert groups such as the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization also recommend decreasing intake of added sugars.
In addition, it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie requirements if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugars. On average, Americans get about 13 percent of their total calories from added sugars, with the major sources being sugar-sweetened beverages (including soft drinks, fruit drinks, coffee and tea, sport and energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages) and snacks and sweets (including grain-based desserts, dairy desserts, candies, sugars, jams, syrups, and sweet toppings).
The FDA recognizes that added sugars can be a part of a healthy dietary pattern. But if consumed in excess, it becomes more difficult to also eat foods with enough dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals and still stay within calorie limits. The updates to the label will help increase consumer awareness of the quantity of added sugars in foods. Consumers may or may not decide to reduce the consumption of certain foods with added sugars, based on their individual needs or preferences.
Vitamins A and C are off the new label, since deficiencies in those categories are no longer commonplace, while Vitamin D and potassium have been added. Manufacturers will have until July 26, 2018 to comply with the new requirements. For more information, visit the FDA’s site.