If you’re a typical American consumer, you spend at least some time during your weekly shopping trip staring at food labels. I always recommend people learn to decipher labels and then use them to compare among various foods.
In particular, you can evaluate for the best nutrition bang for your buck, while checking key nutrients like saturated fat, sugar, dietary fiber, and sodium. These are especially important to baby boomers and older adults, with their concerns about heart disease, pre-diabetes/diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Do You Read Food Labels?
According to research, the majority of consumers say they do read the nutritional panel on product labels. There you can find the serving size and information on calories, fats, carbohydrate (including dietary fiber), and key nutrients.
The idea behind labels is to standardize information available and provide information to allow people to make decisions based on what’s best for their health. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, you can compare serving size and calories between different products. If you’re trying to maximize your fiber intake, the number is right there on the label.
Changes You’ll Begin Seeing
Effective January 1, 2020, for all food companies that do more than $10 million in sales, you’ll see a new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods that “reflects new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.”
Some of the changes you will see, from the FDA:
- A “refreshed design.” Consumers will see larger type size for “Calories,” “Servings per container,” and the “Serving size” declaration, and bolder number of calories and the “Serving size” declaration to highlight this information.
- Change in serving size. Manufacturers must now provide “serving sizes that can reasonably be consumed at one eating occasion.” For many foods, this has gone up. For example, a serving of ice cream was previously ½ cup but is changing to ⅔ cup.
- Dual column labeling. For foods that could possibly be consumed in one sitting, the label must reflect nutrition information for both a “per serving” and “per package”/“per unit” basis. Examples would be a 24-ounce bottle of soda or a pint of ice cream. With dual-column labels available, people will be able to easily understand how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they eat or drink the entire package/unit at one time.
- Manufacturers must declare the actual amount, in addition to percent Daily Value of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium. They can voluntarily declare the gram amount for other vitamins, and minerals.
- And my favorite, the amount of Added Sugars must be listed.
Use this new information to make even better food choices!
For more ideas to eat healthfully, give me a call. We can see if any of my programs or products work for you!