The Food and Drug Administration have proposed alterations in the nutrition labels on packaged food and beverages. If the proposal is passed, then it will be the first major change in nutrition labels in 20 years.
The consumers’ priorities as nutrition is better understood and people learn what they should watch for on a label, administration officials said. The new nutrition label is designed to emphasize more on total calories, added sugars, and specific nutrients, such as vitamin D and potassium.
Also, the FDA is proposing changes to serving size requirements in an effort to accurately portray what people usually eat and drink. For example, one will usually not drink only eight ounces for a 12-ounce can of soda. The new regulations will require nutrition facts for the entire 12-ounce can as well.
The “calories from fat” line is proposed to be taken out, focusing more on total calories in each serving. Nutritionists have concluded that the type of fat is more important than the calories from fat. Total fat versus saturated fat and trans fat would remain on the nutrition label.
"You as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it's good for your family," first lady Michelle Obama said in a press release.
The proposed label would note how much added sugar is in a product. Right now, it is hard to determine how much sugar is natural or added. Chemically, added sugar is the same, but studies show that many Americans eat more sugar than they realize. The American Heart Association recommends men to consume no more than 150 calories or nine teaspoons of added sugar and no more than 100 calories or six teaspoons for women.
Americans are not consuming enough vitamin D – responsible for good bone health- and potassium – essential for healthy blood pressure. In response to this, food and beverage companies would also be required to state the amount of vitamin D and potassium in a product, as well as calcium and iron, if the proposal is passed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of Americans are obese. Some studies have reported that people who pay more attention to labels eat healthier, so the hope is that more informative labeling will help slow the obesity epidemic.