People

FDA unveils first changes to nutrition labels in 20 years


food label new FDA
By Britni R. McAshan | June 8, 2016

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently announced changes to the nutrition facts on food labels. The changes to the labels come in response to decades of research linking diet to chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, as well addressing the need for the labels to more consumer-friendly.

Nutrition labels have historically been difficult to understand for the majority of consumers and it is the hope of the FDA and First Lady Michelle Obama that the recent changes will help shoppers make healthier choices.

“A lot of consumers did not even look at the food labels because they did not know what any of the numbers and percentages meant,” said Shreela Sharma, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology and registered dietitian, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health. “It was a lot of information, but not well thought out because not everyone eats a 2,000 calorie per day diet, and it was not useful information for most people.”

The biggest changes to the nutrition facts labels are a larger font for servings per container and updated serving sizes. To better reflect today’s realistic serving sizes, food and drink labels will now also show the nutrition facts as being one serving for the entire container or bottle of food as opposed to multiple servings per item.

“Manufacturers will now be required to show the servings per container if the container has more than two servings,” said Arthur Garson, M.D., director of the Health Policy Institute at the Texas Medical Center. “We know that the public wants simplicity and showing the total number of calories in a container is a step in the right direction.”

In addition, the new labels declare actual amounts, percentages and values of nutrition, larger font for calories per serving and a change in nutrients listed at at the bottom of the label. The FDA has also created a section to show the amount of added sugars in a product compared to the natural sugars a product contains.

“Many people avoid buying products that have any sugar because they think all sugars are bad, but they are not,” Sharma said. “By showing the difference between added sugars and natural sugar people can feel better about eating sugars that are good for them.”

This will be the first time in 20 years that the nutrition facts labels have been changed, and the changes are the result of modern scientific and nutritional information. In addition to helping consumers make more informed decisions when they are buying groceries, the FDA hopes that the changes in the nutrition labels will help control the growing obesity rates in the country.

“We do not need any more data to tell us that obesity is a problem in the United States,” Garson said. “I commend the FDA for making these changes and I look forward to conducting more research to see how well these changes work.”

Although the nutrition facts label changes have been announced, food manufacturers have until July 2018 to update their labels. For more information on the recent changes, please visit https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm




Social Posts

profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @BCMHouston_News: Trying to lose weight in the new year? Thinking about intermittent #fasting? @bcmhouston dietitian Emily Monfiletto vi…

16 mins ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

@Marissa_lara14 We're thinking of you, Marissa.

56 mins ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @jmills1955: Annual Surgical Jeopardy ⁦@BCM_Surgery⁩ Residents vs Faculty. The Faculty have never won! ⁦@DrRosengart⁩ ⁦@kmattox1⁩ ⁦@drml…

58 mins ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Veterans ask, VA answers: Questions on electronic health record modernization. https://t.co/IkeHFZV0zn via #VAntagePoint

1 hour ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

103-year-old WWII Veteran finally gets the recognition he deserves https://t.co/shJIdq9Ju9 via @CBSEveningNews

11 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Watch to learn how we’re enhancing the ability of patients’ own T cells to fight cancer. #endcancer https://t.co/sFMz5eExco

12 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

Today’s rising #livercancer rates have been driven by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is linked to obesity.But our experts are working with @ScrippsHealth to study an #immunotherapy combination to treat liver cancer and save lives: https://t.co/uwAhLH51uk #endcancer

13 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

College of Charleston looks to send dozens of Valentine’s Day cards to Veterans https://t.co/fFqeaN3T7o via @ABCNews4

13 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Dorit Donoviel, Ph.D., discusses taking risks in science and what the Translational Research Institute for Space Health is doing to help people in space with @InnoMapHou. https://t.co/wbML42L9Wb #space #spacemedicine

14 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UH_Pharmacy: Breaking: With 100% chance of rain for Wed, Jan. 22, the "Shine A Light on Mental Health" fair from noon to 2 pm has been…

17 hours ago
profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

For the second consecutive year, Transplant Services at @TexasChildrens was named the top pediatric transplant center in the US, performing a remarkable 106 solid organ transplants in 2019. Learn more: https://t.co/iR6xO02dTC https://t.co/aOPfISdYhs

18 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

Which Shasta are YOU? Check out our new Instagram face effects, available now! https://t.co/POQlqNnN3W

18 hours ago
profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

Join us this Saturday, January 25 for All About HER! (Health, Emotions & Relationships) at @TexasChildrens The Woodlands! To register, visit: https://t.co/7dqWlmWZOg https://t.co/J84AYU8aZW

19 hours ago
profile_image

Texas Children's

@TexasChildrens

Feeling the love on #NationalHugDay 🤗 #AstrosCaravan @OrbitAstros @astros https://t.co/fqD7iWP7AH

19 hours ago
profile_image

TexasHeartInstitute

@Texas_Heart

Belly fat, more than excess weight, may be a factor in the risk for multiple heart attacks, according to a new study. Tackle that belly fat with a heart-healthy diet and exercise. https://t.co/8f3YKQOlPJ via @CNN https://t.co/bDi6EYVVHZ

20 hours ago