The Food and Drug Administration has updated the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods and beverages to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases.
Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales were required to switch to the new label by Jan. 1.
Angie Murad, a wellness dietitian with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, explains some of the key changes.
The new design of the Nutrition Facts label is meant to make it easier for consumers to make informed food choices. One of the most noticeable changes is the calories are now in a larger, bolder type.
“That can be helpful when you’re trying to identify how many calories are in a product,” Murad explains.
When comparing calories and nutrients in different foods, you should check the serving size. However, since how much people eat and drink has changed over the years, the food serving sizes are getting a reality check on the new labels.
“It may not be an example of what one serving is, but it may be more realistic of what someone really is eating so they can pinpoint exactly how many calories something has,” says Murad.
The new labels are now required to include vitamin D, potassium and added sugars. When making healthy food choices, Murad says to look at the calories.
“They should look at added sugars. You want to be looking for things that have unsaturated fats and staying away from things that have high saturated fats.”