FDA Food Label Changes: What You Need to Know

By mid-2018, shoppers will start to see some noticeable changes being made to food labels according to new requirements announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. What does this mean for shoppers?

For starters, serving sizes will now fall in line with what people typically eat in one sitting. While this aligns more with the diet and lifestyle of the average person, some experts say there’s potential this could encourage overeating.

To put it into perspective, ice cream lists half a cup as a serving size, but in the near future it will show two thirds a cup. Consumers will need to pay more attention to portion control and measuring their personal food intake, because this portion size isn’t necessarily health-concious.

Calories, sugars and serving size will be listed in a larger, bolder font than they are now. By doing this, consumers are able to see crucial information about the food they are consuming. Another major change to labels is the inclusion of added sugars. This will clarify the difference in natural sugars verses preservatives that are often found in our food.

What won’t you see? Vitamins A and C. For those of you concerned–fear not. According to Grace Derocha, a registered dietician with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, there are typically no deficiencies of these in foods across America. Although the FDA is not requiring these vitamins to be listed, food companies still have the ability to include it.

“I’d like to see a change in the daily calorie intake listed on food labels,” said Derocha. “A 2,000 calorie diet isn’t an accurate representation of everyone, especially most women.”

Daily calorie intake differs across diets and body types. The listing of 2,000 calories caters to the average male and because of this, anyone with a different body type could be consuming the wrong amount of calories and fat.

Regardless of these changes, it’s still important that we follow a few simple steps when headed to the grocery store.

“Know what your personal health goals are before you go shopping. When you arrive, pay attention to all parts of a food labels; calories, fat, carbs, protein—everything that aligns with your personal diet needs. When you get home, take the time to make accurate measurements of your portion sizes—don’t just eyeball it,” said Derocha.

What’s your take on the changes to food label requirements? Share your feedback by leaving a comment below.

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Photo Credit: Toney Webster via Flickr

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