By Becca Bresemann, Texas A&M Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD, Director of Community Outreach
Have you noticed some food labels look a little different recently? That’s because they are! The FDA has rolled out new requirements for what companies must include in their food labels. All companies were required to change their labels by January 1, 2020 (Or January 1, 2021 for smaller companies). Here’s what you need to know about the new changes:
The new food label will begin showing added sugar in addition to total sugar. What does this mean? Many foods contain sugar naturally, like fruit and milk. However, many companies add extra sugar to their products, making them even higher in calories without any added nutrients. Eating a lot of added sugar is known to increase a person’s risk of developing certain chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. For this reason, it’s recommended that a person get no more than 10 percent of their calories from added sugars (this equals about 50 grams of sugar per day). Including this information on the nutrition label can help people pay attention to how much extra sugar they eat each day. Research has shown that this addition could reduce the number of people who develop diabetes in the future.
Vitamin D and Potassium
With the new food label, companies will be required to include how much vitamin D and potassium a food contains. These nutrients are important for keeping your bones healthy and your blood pressure normal. Many people don’t get enough vitamin D in their diet, so adding it on the nutrition label could help with awareness of how much they consume each day.
From now on, the serving size will be based on how much of a particular food people actually eat, not the recommended serving size. For example, a serving of ice cream will now be 2/3 cup instead of ½ cup. This will make it easier for someone to accurately estimate how many calories or other nutrients they are getting from their food.
These are just a few of the changes that will be made to the food label. You can find all the details at https://www.fda.gov/media/99331/download.