AURORA, Colo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Starting this month, food manufacturers have two years to comply with new FDA rules to give nutrition labels a much-needed makeover. Now serving size and calories will have to be in bigger, bolder text and food companies will have to add a new line for “added sugars”, just to name a few. It comes as science has changed in recent decades. While fat was the focus in the 1990s when the labels were first created, the concern these days is on calories and sugar is the new fat.
It may looks like a grocery store, but it’s actually a lab.
Lauren Ott, RD, a registered dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center told Ivanhoe, “It says antioxidants, it says heart health, they’ve got blueberries down here.”
Where registered dietitians, like Ott, have grocery shopping down to a science.
“It shocks a lot of people to see that a cereal that appears to be extremely healthy actually has more sugar in it than a kid’s cereal,” said Ott.
Learning how to read nutrition labels has been the 60-pound difference for Ott’s client, Laura Alsdorf, who has lost that much and kept it off.
Alsdoft explained, “It’s motivating to be able to cross your legs. When you’re overweight that’s something that you don’t get to do.”
“Some food manufacturers are tricky and they will say things that can be misleading,” detailed Ott.
Since 1994, food manufacturers have relied on tricks to sell treats as seemingly healthy, but the FDA wants to arm consumers with information. Changes you’ll soon see on nutrition fact labels include calories and serving size in bigger, bolder text and a new line for “added” sugars.
Ott continued, “Are they natural sugars like those found in fruit or dairy? Or are they added sugars like added fructose or sucrose? They’re also adding a percent daily value to sugar, so 10 percent or less of our daily calories should come from added sugars.”
Vitamin D and potassium will be added as well, and serving sizes will have to reflect actual consumption because, really, how many people eat just one-half cup of ice cream per serving?
“It does make a difference. We find that more consumers do change their orders at restaurants, fast food, places like that when they do have the nutrition facts listed,” said Ott.
The FDA hopes the changes will encourage healthier choices in consumers, and even healthier foods by manufacturers.
As you can imagine, food and drink manufacturers aren’t all on board with the new changes, especially soda makers like Coca-Cola. They estimate it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to change their labels at a time when sales are already down as people become more conscious of the role of sugar in health problems, like diabetes.