Thursday, February 27, 2014

Myth: Some of the information on food packages isn’t very clear.


But, help is on the way. Like you, about 42% of adults look at the label while shopping, according to a USDA study. Unveiled today were proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts panel you see on food packages. If these changes are made, the information on your food label would get a reality check. How so?

  • Serving sizes would be more realistic. A bottle of 20-ounce soda would be considered as one serving instead of two. No more having to do the math to get the total calories in a bottle. That pint of ice cream? 4 servings? Really? No, in the real world we serve ourselves one cup so a pint would be two servings.
  • Added (refined) sugars would be new information provided on the label because Americans consume too much sugar and there is much evidence linking high sugar in the diet to heart disease.
  • There will be no hiding from the calorie information on the label. The number of calories will be bigger and bolder. Calories from fat would no longer be on the label next to the total calories.
  • Vitamins and minerals that appear on the label will change. Vitamins A and C will be dropped. Vitamin D and potassium will be added. Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin D for good bone health. Potassium is also an important part of our diets as it may help to lower blood pressure. Calcium and iron will remain on the label.
  • In addition to the proposed new format with the changes above, an alternative label format is provided. The amount of various nutrients is presented differently in sections. There’s a ‘Quick Facts’ section that includes fats, carbohydrates and protein, an ‘Avoid too much’ section for saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars, and a ‘Get enough’ section with fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium.

The public is asked to provide comments for the next 90 days. For more information, go to There is a button at the top of the page for the Spanish version of this announcement.

Current, Proposed & Alternate nutrition labels
Click image to see larger version
Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933


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