New nutrition labels force food makers to be honest about portion sizes
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed changes to the nutrition label found on packaged foods. The updated "Nutrition Facts" panel aims to help consumers make better choices about food, by displaying calories more prominently and adding new lines to the label.
There will also be new requirements as to what constitutes a serving size. "By law, serving sizes must be based on what people actually eat, not on what they 'should' be eating," states the FDA announcement. For example, most people who buy a 20-ounce bottle of soda will consume the whole thing at once. However, the nutrition label states that a bottle contains 2.5 servings, making it difficult to track how many calories have been consumed.
The new labels would also have an extra line for added sugars. This makes the distinction between natural sugars, like those found in dairy and fruit, and refined sugars that may be added during the manufacturing process. According to the FDA, 16 percent of the average American's daily calories come from added sugars.
The proposed labels will further require manufacturers to state if a product has Vitamin D or potassium, two nutrients Americans may not be eating enough.
It's unclear if there will be pushback from food manufacturers. “My prediction is that this will be wildly controversial," author and professor Marion Nestle told The New York Times.
By changing the nutrition label, the FDA aims to reduce a number of chronic health conditions that are linked to poor diet, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and stroke.