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FDA Nutrition Facts Label: 6 Changes You Need To Know

FDA Nutrition Facts Label: 6 Changes You Need To Know

May 31st 2018

For the past 20 years, the same Nutrition Facts label has been on all of your favorite foods and beverages. The FDA has decided that it is time for a change; that change will be mandatory by 2021. We will be updating our label and want to walk you through the differences on this new label.

Here is a look at the new nutrition label:

nutritional label

1. Servings

servings

The serving size has been updated to reflect a more accurate depiction of how much a person eats in a single sitting. These serving sizes are now required to be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating. It will take into consideration the “just one more cookie, then I’ll stop” behavior we are all guilty of doing.

The new label will also take into account packaging size of the products with a new dual column chart. If the size of the package can be consumed in either one or two servings (think 24 oz. soda bottle), the label will include a column indicating the amount of calories and nutrients on both a “per serving” and “per package” basis. This will give a better understanding of nutrient intake based on how much one consumes in a sitting. 

2. Calories

servings

If you’ve ever wondered how brands calculate those pesky calories, it requires a bit of math. Calories are calculated by multiplying the fat, protein, and carbohydrates content by the amount of calories per gram.

  • Fat = 9 calories per gram
  • Protein = 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates = 4 calories per gram

So, if a serving contains 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 37 grams of carbohydrates, the total calories per serving would be 232. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 8 grams of fat x 9 calories per gram = 72 calories from fat
  • 3 grams of protein x 4 calories per gram = 12 calories from protein
  • 37 grams of carbohydrates x 4 calories per gram = 148 calories from carbohydrates

72 calories + 12 calories + 148 calories = 232 total calories per serving

Additionally, the calorie count per serving is now bolded and has a larger text size. Calories commonly are overlooked, and this will help consumers from passing it over this number to quickly.

3. Fats

“Calories from Fat” was removed from the label. Research showed this number was misleading because the type of fat is more important than the amount of fat consumed. “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” will continue to remain printed on the label. 

4. Added Sugars

added sugars

The most significant change we’re excited to see is the new “Added Sugars” row. In the past, it’s been confusing to consumers to have one sugar number that combined natural sugars and added sugar together. While this doesn’t change the fact that sugar intake should be closely watched, natural sugar and processed sugar, aka added sugar, are not equal.

Except for concentrates, most sources of natural sugar also contain fiber. Natural sugar, combined with fiber, is more slowly digested by the body, it’s easier for the body to regulate and even pass through. Processed sugars can cause blood-sugar and insulin spikes, as the sugar is more rapidly absorbed into the blood. It is more easily stored as fat and can cause your organs, such as your kidney, to age more quickly.

“Added sugars” include sugars from syrups (corn syrup, malt syrup, tapioca syrup), honey, and fruit concentrates. Hint: If you look at a That’s it.® fruit bar you’ll find it contains 0g of “added sugar” as it is made exclusively of whole fruit.

5. Nutrients

nutrients

Vitamin D and potassium took the place of vitamins A and C on the updated nutrition facts. Since deficiencies of vitamins A and C are not as common today, they are no longer required to be added to the label.

On the other hand, Americans are not getting the recommended amount of vitamin D and potassium, which are essential. Vitamin D is needed for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, and potassium is beneficial for reducing the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. 

6. Footnote

The definition of % Daily Value (DV) has been more clearly explained in the footnotes. The purpose is to inform consumers about the meaning behind the percentages to help them understand the amount they are consuming in the context of a total daily diet.

Old:Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

New:The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

The %DV is calculated by dividing the number of nutrients in the food by the total amount of nutrients recommended based on caloric intake. For instance, the recommended Total Fat for a 2,000 calorie diet is less than 78 grams a day. If a product contains 8 grams of fat, then it’s %DV is 10%.

At That’s it.®, we focus on simple and easy ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re getting when you look at the nutrition label on your snacks. For more information about our products and ingredients, visit our FAQs page.

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