Last month, the FDA finally updated their nutrition facts panel. For readers who might not know, this panel was standardized and made mandatory on packaged foods 20 years ago and this is its first ever update. They give a quick overview of the difference and here’s a quick list of the main changes:
- Vitamin D and Potassium are now mandatory labels and Vitamins A and C are no longer mandatory.
- Updated daily values to reflect current science
- The percentages are in a column directly to the left of the nutrient so it’s easier to read.
- Calories, serving sizes, and servings per container are all more prominent.
- Realistic (based on recent NHANES) and legally standardized serving sizes
- No more calories from fat
- Added sugar has its own line
While this is a great start to aim consumers towards better food choices, the main focus according to some is a reform and update of the ingredients list. Many physicians and nutritionists argue that “spices” is too vague and the term “natural flavors” is merely a buzzword.
With obesity being such a health risk to consumers across the country, the most important changes are the updates to the legal serving sizes and giving sugar its own index. Many doctors and scientists are skeptical until they can conduct their own fact checking, to see if these are the best changes for the FDA.