The Food and Drug Administration is proposing several changes to nutrition labels on packaged goods. If these changes are approved, the new labels will focus more on added sugars, specific nutrients such as potassium or vitamin d, and total calories for realistic serving sizes. The new rules will focus on one serving size for items such as beverages that most would not drink several sittings.

Understanding What You Eat

This is the first change to nutritional labels since the FDA began requiring them over 20 years ago. Because of a new understanding of nutrition, people find it more important to read labels and recognize what things they should avoid. It is believed that consumers should be able to read a label and know very quickly whether or not the item is healthy for them or their families to consume.

Counting Calories

These new changes would remove calories from the fat line on labels while focusing more on total calories in each serving. Nutritionists believe that the type of fat consumed is much greater than just calories from fat in general. The breakdown of total fat versus trans and saturated fat will remain.

Heart Health, nutritional labelsThese new labels would explain how much-added sugar is in a product as right now it is hard to determine what natural sugar is and what isn’t and has been added. Experts say that many Americans eat more sugar than they should and don’t realize it.

The American Heart Association recommended sugar should be limited to no more than half of daily calories (150 calories daily for men and 100 calories for women).

The Proposition

Another proposed change is to add daily values for things such as Vitamin D, potassium, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, and sodium. If new rules take effect, the daily value of sodium will lower from 2,400 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams. Research points to the fact that many Americans do not eat enough Vitamin D, which promotes good bone health and potassium, which keeps blood pressure under control.

The administration believes that approximately 17% of the current serving size requirements will change, and the FDA will add 25 categories for a product that wasn’t available when the original requirements were established.

Serving sizes typically will go up as no one eats just a half cup of ice cream. However, things like yogurt will go down. The administration believes this will help people better understand how many calories they’re consuming, especially if they plan on eating the whole container.

As for sodium, experts believe that the recommended is still too high. The American Heart Association believes sodium should be limited to 1,500 milligrams daily. As for sugars, a daily limit of grams for added sugars is recommended.

Implementing These Changes

The FDA has a 90-day comment period open where experts and the public can provide input on these rules. The FDA then will make a final decision. Manufacturers will then have two years to comply with the changes.

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