If you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle, one of the most important resources available at the supermarket is the FDA’s Nutrition Facts label. Here, you can find all of the information to make a decision about whether or not an item belongs in the cart.
Whether you’re counting calories, avoiding saturated fats or looking to boost overall vitamin intake, this is where you learn what’s contained inside the packaging. Studious readers of the label might have noticed some changes in 2020. These are the first revisions to it in more than 20 years, which reflect new scientific research as well as feedback from consumers.
Understanding what’s different about this labeling now will be critical for ensuring you make the most informed choices. These changes not only make the labels easier to read, but they also provide new information that is more relevant to eating healthy. Here is a rundown of the label’s new look and what it means for you.
Portion control is one of the most crucial elements of a balanced diet. In the past, the Nutrition Facts label included information about recommended serving sizes in small type, which made it difficult to find at a glance. At the same time, these figures were still being based on outdated ideas. The 2020 revisions now make this number much larger and bolder, helping to increase its visibility. The amounts also have been adjusted to reflect new guidelines about daily diet and portioning.
Although this is one of the most frequently referenced pieces of information on the label, it wasn’t always presented in the most useful way. Prior to 2020, these numbers were relatively small and easy to miss if you didn’t know where to look. On the newly revised labels, however, this figure is front and center, using the largest font and shown in bold.
Knowing the caloric content of what you’re eating is necessary to avoid overeating. The rule of thumb remains that 2,000 calories per day is what the average person needs. However, this can vary based on the individual’s weight, age, height, physical activity level and other factors.
Percent Daily Value
The percent Daily Value (%DV) figures have been updated for 2020 based on new research. This states how much a serving contributes to your total daily requirements of certain nutrients. Numbers of 20% or more are considered high, while 5% or less is considered a lower amount. This is important when looking at vitamins as well as cholesterol and sodium.
This is the area of the label where the biggest alterations have been made. Americans’ dietary habits and nutritional awareness have changed over the years, making some of the information formerly contained in this section unnecessary. For example, “calories from fat” has been removed to reflect new research that says the type of fat consumed is more relevant than the amount. Vitamins A and C also no longer appear here because Americans generally consume enough of these and deficiencies are much rarer than when the label was created.
Additions to this section are added sugars, Vitamin D and potassium. The information about sugars concerns any that are added during processing or come from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. Vitamin D and potassium make their appearances in this portion of the label because many consumers are at risk of being deficient due to their diets.
Having all of the data makes an informed choice much easier and more convenient for you. The revisions made to the Nutrition Facts labeling offer a better way of telling consumers what they’re eating. They also give them an edge when it comes to planning a healthier diet.
Author bio:John Hinchey is VP of Sales for Westfalia Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and warehouse automation.