The Dish

New Food Labels

Finally. It’s finally happening.

Food labels are finally getting an update.

Proposed about 2 years ago, it’s been a long time coming.  But why do the labels need updating anyway? To remain relevant. I mean after all we are learning more and more about nutrition through research and something that was started more than 25 years ago has to keep up with the times  don’t ya think?

Food labels were created to help people make more informed decisions about the foods they eat. However, the labels have been based on eating habits and nutrition information from the seventies and eighties. Uh –  I think we all know that our eating habits have changed through the years. In fact, food portions have doubled and, in some cases, tripled over the past twenty years. These increases in portion sizes is linked to the rise of obesity. The new food labels will include information that is supposed to reflect how Americans really eat. Uh-oh.

You know what that means? When you look at the back of that bag of chips you’re likely to see the nutrition information if you were to eat the whole bag not the nutrition information of eating only 1oz, which was the suggested serving size. Because let’s be honest – how many of you really only eat 15 chips at a time? That’s what I thought.

So here’s the rundown on the changes ahead:
  • Serving sizes are updated, bolded with a larger font.
  • Calories will also be bolded and have a larger font.
  • Dual columns for servings sizes: per serving & whole package will be listed.
  • Amount of added sugars listed under total sugars.
  • Updated daily values and better explanation about what this means.
  • Nutrient information provided for vitamin D, Calcium, Iron and Potassium.

While the new label is designed to help you make better food choices, I think there are some flaws. I think it’s great that the new label includes the amount of added sugars. This keeps it in line with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that recommend to limit added sugars to no more than 10% of your daily calories.  However, this is supposed to shock you into realizing how much sugar you’re actually eating. Will this work? I don’t know – maybe. If you’re already conscious about what you’re eating you probably don’t eat too much added sugar anyway. If you’re not conscious about what you’re eating is this really going to matter to you? I don’t know – maybe? Hopefully?

If I had a wish list I would want sugar to be listed as teaspoons, protein to be listed as ounces and daily values to disappear. Why? By listing as teaspoons and ounces, I think may make it easier to understand just how much you are eating. After all,  don’t we hear about how many teaspoons of sugar Americans are eating and all about keeping your protein portion sizes to about 5-6oz. per day? So the new label still requires some translation. Oh and the daily values? Well, they’re only relevant if you actually consume a 2,000 calorie diet per day. So while it may give you an idea, it’s not an exact value.

Overall, I think the new labels are heading in the right direction. But it’s up to you to take advantage of this tool provided to you.

What do you think of the new food labels?





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Erin DIshes

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Erin DIshes

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