New Nutrition Labels–What’s the Difference?

The new nutrition labels have been announced by the FDA. They don’t go into effect until 2018 for larger companies, and 2019 for companies with less than ten million in food sales annually. But, you might wonder what the changes mean for you. Will the new labeling really make it easier to know what you and your children are eating?

One big difference with the new labeling is more detailed sugar information. Whereas the old label stated how much sugar was in a product, the new version shows how much of that is sugar added by the manufacturer. For instance, everyone knows apple juice contains sugars, after all, it is very sweet; but did you know that a large part of that sugar may be added sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, rather than the naturally occurring sugars found in apples? With current food labeling, you just don’t know.

Another significant difference with the new labeling is serving sizes. With the old labels, a bottled beverage showed information indicating that the bottle contained multiple servings. The sugar content and other nutritional information shown indicated portions for one serving, and so were misleading for many people. Most people, when they purchase a 12 oz. or a 16 oz. soda, consume the entire drink rather than portioning it into servings. The 100 calories per serving indicated on the label may only be a half, or a third, of the actual calories or sugar when the whole bottle is consumed. With the new labels, all bottled drinks are considered one serving, and the nutritional information will reflect the entire contents of the bottle making it easier to see how much sugar and how many calories you are drinking.

Other changes include deleting some of the nutrient information such as vitamin A and C quantities and replacing those with vitamin D and potassium information– important for many people with various medical conditions such as osteoporosis.

Larger bolder, serving size information makes reading the newer labels easier. Remember, you can look for these new labels in your local grocery store beginning in 2018.