By Tami A. Ross, RD, LD, CDE, MLDE, FAADE
You and your clients may have noticed that the Nutrition Facts label on some packaged foods has taken on a fresh new look in recent months. The intent of the new design is to help consumers make more informed food choices, ultimately to support healthy eating. While January 1, 2020 is the compliance date for major food manufacturers (>$10 million in annual sales) to adopt this labeling format, the campaign to officially launch the new look will roll out later in the year. Smaller manufacturers will have until January 1, 2021 to comply.
What you need to know
The new label reflects current evidence and science, including the link between diet and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. This updated tool will help your clients with diabetes more easily identify food choices that work (and don’t work) for them.
Here are 5 key changes you need to know:
The number of “servings per container” and the “serving size” are in larger and/or in bolder type to draw attention to them. And the serving sizes are more realistic, having been updated to reflect portions people actually eat and drink. There are also new requirements for package sizes, including those that could be consumed at one or more sittings (such as a pint of ice cream).
You’ll find this information to also be in much larger, bolder print. And “calories from fat” has disappeared, given that current evidence directs focus to type of fat rather than amount.
- Added sugars
Added sugar is now required and you’ll see it listed in grams as well as percent daily value (%DV). This reflects sugars added during processing, including honey, syrups and concentrated fruit and vegetable juices. This new information will be especially helpful to those with diabetes, given the recommendation in the ADA Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2019 for people with diabetes to minimize consumption of foods with added sugars.
Vitamins A and C have been removed from the label since deficiencies are now rare. Vitamin D and potassium are now required, since many don’t get enough of these. You’ll see the actual amounts of these and updated %DV, along with that for calcium and iron.
- %DV Footnote
It’s helpful to find a new footnote at the bottom of the label to more clearly explain %DV and how it can be used to gain perspective about the nutrient information in the context of what’s eaten the rest of the day.
I’m excited to see these changes rolling out and am hearing from my clients that it’s easier to understand the new and improved Nutrition Facts label and use it as a tool to guide their food choices.
Stay tuned to AADE for additional resources and information in 2020. You can learn more about the updates to the Nutrition Facts label in a 90-minute recorded webinar from AADE: Nutrition Facts Label Update.
ADCES Perspectives on Diabetes Care
The Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists Perspectives on Diabetes Care covers diabetes, prediabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions. Not all views expressed reflect the official position of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists.
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