New Food Labels in Our Future

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally deciding to clarify the food labels so they are more realistic, easier to understand and less confusing. It will take years to happen, at least 2-3, however it is exciting.

Currently, when you look at Total Carbohydrates you see its itemized breakdown underneath: Dietary Fiber, Sugar and Other Carbohydrates. Actually, only dietary fiber and sugar is required to be listed. The sugar becomes confusing since it includes both processed sugar like molasses, honey, brown rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc. as well as natural sugar found in milk (lactose) or fruit (fructose). When a product contains both types of sugar it is difficult to decipher how much of each. The new food label proposes to change this so it is easier to read. They will have both sugar and added sugar listed.

Another proposed change is to make the serving size more realistic. After all, how many people actually eat ½ cup of ice cream? A serving of ice cream, whether it is a lower calorie (120) or a higher calorie (300) ice cream………. ½ cup is the amount you get. If you eat a cup or even a bowl you need to do some math to add up the real amount of calories you are consuming. This is an important step in perhaps reducing the obesity problem in this country.

Nutrient values will reflect the current literature and be more accurate. For example, instead of the daily limit on sodium being 2,400 mg it will be reduced to 2,300 mg. This may change even further by the time the plan is in its final stages since the American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg of sodium for people, especially those with hypertension or heart disease. Others would want to aim for under 2,000 mg. The easier way to figure out if you are consuming lower sodium amounts is by looking at the serving size 140 mg of sodium per serving is considered low.

Right now, the FDA has a 90-day comment period for experts and the public to voice their opinions. It’s time to speak before the FDA issues its final ruling.