Update on New FDA Nutrition Labels

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WholeFoods Magazine Staff
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Silver Spring, MD- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released their its proposed Nutrition Facts label to replace the current one that has been deemed outdated.

The proposed label is intended to bring attention to the areas of nutrition that are important when addressing leading health problems such as obesity, heart disease and stroke, says Michael Landa, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Instead of fats, the new label would place greater emphasis on the calories, now in a larger, bold font. The “Amount per Serving” information would also be larger and would include the actual size of a serving (such as a cup) for clarity; in addition, the serving sizes would be more realistic and reflect how much people really eat, not what is recommended they eat.

“Calories from Fat” would no longer be listed, because it is known that “the type of fat is more important than the total amount of fat,” says Claudine Kavanaugh, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., health scientist at FDA. Total, saturated and trans fats would still be included on the label.

For the first time, “Added Sugars” would be listed under the total sugar count in order to differentiate them from sugars from natural sources such as fruits or nuts. The amount of vitamin D and potassium, if present, would be required because, according to FDA, evidence shows they can protect against chronic diseases; amounts of vitamins A and C would no longer need to be included.

According to Kavanaugh, the goal of the new label is to expand and highlight the information the public needs to make healthy food choices on their own. Those at risk for certain health issues, including high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, would find the detailed information on certain nutrients like sodium and potassium especially helpful, as well.

 

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2014 (online 2/27/14)