Have you ever picked up an item in the grocery store that looked healthy, turned around to read the label, and just ended up confused? Good news! You will start to see a NEW and improved Nutrition Facts label on almost all packaged foods by July 26, 2018. My name is Katie Hake, and as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, my goal is to help you be a smart consumer. I specialize in working with bariatric patients and clients seeking general health and wellness. I provide individualized nutrition counseling to help my clients make healthy changes long term. Through individual sessions and support groups, we work together to learn more about nutrition, which includes learning how to read food labels.
- Added Sugars: Sugar naturally occurs in many dairy, grain, and fruit based products. The 2015- 2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend we consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars. These will be higher in processed foods or beverages such as sports drinks, candy, and other sweets.
- Nutrients: Vitamin D and potassium will now be required on the label along with calcium and iron since studies show Americans typically do not consume enough of these nutrients. Vitamins A and C are no longer required to be listed since deficiencies are rare.
- Calories & Serving Size: These will be bigger and bolder which makes it easier to see. Serving sizes will be revised to reflect what Americans typically consider a portion when it comes to packaged foods. Studies show it is more important to consider the type of fat consumed rather than the amount which is why 'Calories from Fat' will also be removed.
- %Daily Value: This percentage gives an idea of how much of a certain nutrient should take up from your typical diet. This can help to identify if a particular serving of food is either high or low in a certain nutrient. A good rule of thumb is if the %DV is less than 5, it is low in that nutrient, and good if above 20.
Take Home Message?
- Reading food labels can help to compare food products to make healthier choices.