The food nutrition labels that are required to be added to the packaging of most food products could soon be changing for the first time in 20 years, if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is successful in its most recent proposal. If the label changes receive the necessary approval, then the new version would create a higher focus on nutrients, sugars, and portion sizes, as well as the total calories.
The text will be printed in a larger font size and the serving sizes will no longer be based on the ideal portion, but will instead reflect the actual amount that the average person consumes. For instance, the current food nutrition labels on the average 20 ounce bottle of soda claim that it contains 2.5 servings. The new regulations would have the entire bottle labeled as a single serving so that it would be easier for a consumer to be able to understand the number of calories that would be taken in if he or she were to drink the entire bottle.
In that sense, the new regulations would be considerably more realistic. Many consumers don’t realize that the serving size that they consume and the one that is on the package may not be the same. In fact, typically there is a notable difference in those portions. With these changes, there will be far fewer calculations required to figure out exactly what will go into the amount that is actually being eaten.
Another important point that the FDA has proposed is to add separate grams of sugar. This would mean that the sugars naturally occurring within the ingredients would be added into the section with the important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and proteins. However, the added sugars would be labeled separately. This is very important because it is the added sugars that are most linked to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, not to mention obesity. Therefore, the new separate food nutrition labels requirement would make it much easier for consumers to make healthier, informed choices.
That said, the FDA’s proposal is far from perfect. What it is currently hoping to do is use this update to offer considerable improvements, as opposed to trying to achieve perfection in this area, which is likely impossible, considering that all of the data is based on averages as opposed to individual needs. Many consumers and health specialist feel that this is an important step in the right direction.