How Does The New Nutrition Facts Panel Help Consumers Make Informed Choices?
Do you count calories or shudder at the serving size whenever you finish off a pint of ice cream? Then, you may be glad to see the inclusions on the new nutrition facts panel.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the nutrition facts label a bit of a makeover to reflect updated scientific research, such as how diet is linked to chronic diseases plus, how people may actually eat better.
The FDA envisions the new changes to the nutrition facts panel information will help consumers make smarter decisions about the foods they eat.
Keep an eye out for added sugars
The new nutrition label now includes added sugar. Those are the syrups and sugars that are added to beverages and foods during preparation.
There are many food manufacturers who use added sugars to enhance flavors in their products. Excess amounts of sugars may cause serious health risks and contribute to the increase in diabetes, obesity, and heart disease in the United States.
Multiple varieties of sugars were clamped together into a total sugars category before this new nutrition facts panel. For example, fruit yogurts contain sugars from three sources: lactose from milk, natural sugars from fruit, and added sugars. Prior to the introduction of the new nutrition facts panel, all of these were tallied as one figure under total sugars.
Now the new nutrition facts label will distinguish added sugars to enable consumers to comprehend the exact amount they are going to eat which, as per FDA’s dietary guidelines, shouldn’t be more than 10% of the daily calories. This part of the label is important because consumers can now take added sugars into consideration when they go to purchase a product.
“The added sugar concern is going to translate into food manufacturers using less added sugars and this will help enhance the wellbeing of the overall population,” said an executive of a food nutrition analysis and labeling software, Nutritionist Pro™.
Serving size is now more realistic
The updated nutrition facts label now includes more accurate serving sizes. There are many food products which contain multiple servings, listing not only the nutrition info per serving, but also the nutrition info per package. This change is perhaps the first thing which is going to catch your eye. FDA has clear instructions for making this info bigger and bolder possibly, due to the fact that nearly 40% people are obese in the USA. And, obesity is linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.
Say goodbye to calories from Fat and hello to vitamin D
This is another big development for the nutrition facts panel. Various research indicates that the type of fat consumed is more important than total fats. For example monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in nuts and vegetable oils, can minimize the risk of heart disease when eaten in place of trans and saturated fats.
As many people in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin D and potassium, the new nutrition facts panel is, therefore, mandated to feature these nutrients, replacing vitamin C and A.
Food choices tend to vary from person to person. Many times, a better food choice depends on the consumers’ goal, which means: are they looking to lose weight or gain weight or increase fiber or decrease protein? Now, food manufacturers have to display food info on their food nutrition facts panel following the new FDA guidelines.
If you are a food manufacturer and unsure whether you comply with the exact new nutrition facts panel guidelines, download a demo of Nutritionist Pro™ and see how easily and quickly it enables its users to stay compliant with the guidelines.
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