A few months ago, the FDA made some changes to the nutrition fact labels that we have all grown to know and love. Although the labels still appear the same, there are some critical changes that have been made to the way the numbers are calculated as well as displayed. Getting acquainted with these changes is important in order to reap the maximum benefits of the product, be it a food item or supplement.
Here are some of the main changes that have been highlighted in this new version of the nutrition facts label.
Above is a picture showing the differences between the old nutrition facts labels (left) and the new ones (right). As mentioned before, at a superficial glance these do not look much different. The format appears more or less the same as does the text and the coloring. However, when studied in detail here is what you will notice (starting from the top):
- Order of information
“Servings per container” and “Servings per size” have switched places on the label. The “servings per container” is larger and exact. Furthermore, the “serving size” in addition to being larger and bolder, is now calculated taking into account how much people actually eat as opposed to the prior company-decided sizes. However, this should be taken as a recommendation but simply seen as a description of what is in the package.
Calories, being one of the first things people look at in a nutrition label, takes the prime spot in this new format. The font is the largest and boldest of all the other titles on the table thus making it quicker to spot and easier to skim through.
- Daily Values Updated (DV)
The daily values for sodium, dietary fibers and vitamin D have been updated according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Institute of Medicine recommendations. So, most labels will see a change in these daily values going forward.
Vitamin D and potassium will show not only daily values but also the gram amount. Vitamins A and C will no longer be displayed on labels as deficiencies of these vitamins are very rare today.
- Added Sugars
Another huge change is the adding of the “added sugars” sub-category. These are measured in grams as well as daily values percentages. This new change will help buyers to distinguish between sugars that have been artificially added during processing and packaging and sugars that are naturally present in the food item. The aim is to encourage buyers to make healthier choices when choosing their snacks.
- Multi-servings Items
For items that are intended to be consumed in multiple servings there will be two separate columns indicating calories and nutritional information per serving as well as per package. The aim is to give a clear picture of nutritional information to the consumer without having to bother with calculations.
A new footnote has been added to the label that explains to the buyer how the DV is calculated and how it is applicable to them depending on how much of the product they consume.
These key changes are applicable to any and every consumable item approved by the FDA. Labels for drugs and nutritional supplements have also undergone similar changes. However, you can read this article for a detailed explanation of Key Changes Being Made to the Supplement Facts Label by the FDA.