Nutrition Labels Revamped

You may have already read stories about the FDA proposing a new nutrition label. There was so much hype about it in the beginning that I stayed out of it - other than to find another reason to admire First Lady. After sitting back and listening to conversation, I thought I'd give my two cents. Below you can see the current label (on the left) and the proposed label (on the right). 

The first thing that I want to point out is that they do a great job of highlighting calories. When it comes to weight loss, we can boil a lot down to calories in vs calories out (of course, the quality of those calories makes a big difference, but that's for a different post). Seeing this big bold declaration of that number is helpful.

Also, the serving size and servings per container is more prominent. This is helpful because far too often, people misunderstand what a serving size is, and how many are in the package. Side note: it really gets me riled up when a serving size is just in weight, and then the servings per container says "varies" - this gives the average consumer NO idea how much they are eating.

Along with the prominence of the serving size piece, there is a proposed revamp of how a serving size is determined. The new serving sizes will need to more accurately reflect what the average consumer is eating (who eats just 1/2 cup of ice cream??). In addition, some products are meant to be consumed in one sitting (i.e. a bottle of soda), but have been labeled as multiple servings. 

This is helpful on a lot of levels to understand nutritional value. Without a standard serving size it can be hard to compare products, though. 

I also like that there are new nutrients listed on the label - vitamin D and potassium. These are current nutrients of public concern, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Many Americans are deficient in vitamin D, and heart and kidney patients are especially concerned about potassium intake. 

This isn't an exhaustive look at the changes, but is a highlight of the ones I got excited about. What do you think of the proposed changes?


Katie Goldberg

Katie Goldberg, MCN, RDN, LDN, has been a registered dietitian since 2013, but has always had a passion for good food and a healthy lifestyle. Katie earned her Master’s of Clinical Nutrition from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and has worked in private practice, higher education, in a clinical setting, and as an in-house dietitian for a food company. Whether it's at through large groups or one-on-one, Katie enjoys connecting people with easy and practical solutions for better health.