As the writer of a health and wellness blog (that’s weird to say), I would be remiss if I didn’t so much as mention the nationwide food label makeover announced yesterday.
To recap before I give my two cents, the FDA proposed a series of changes to nutrition labels two years ago that the First Lady just announced will go into effect within the next couple of years. Most food companies have until July 2018 to comply.
Here are a few highlights:
The Change: Under the new guidelines, the suggested serving size on food labels will more realistically reflect what someone actually eats. For example, a serving size of ice cream will increase from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup. Also changing is the number of servings contained in a “single serving” package of food that weighs up to — but not quite — twice the standard serving size. That means a 20-ounce bottle of soda will show one serving.
My Thoughts: I understand the concept behind the change: to help people understand the calorie content of what they are actually consuming. The problem is, I think many people, myself included, will end up eating more because of the larger serving size on some foods. I do try my best to adhere to the posted serving size for snacks regardless of calorie count; granted, the fewer calories something contains, the more likely I am to eat more than one serving. But now my single serving of some foods is just going to be bigger, in accordance with the listed serving size. I won’t intuitively think, oh, I used to only eat one handful of pretzels instead of the one and a half it says I can eat now, so let me go back to that. And for people who don’t regularly adhere to posted serving sizes, I don’t think they will be any more likely to do so now.
The Change: The total sugar content will now be broken down to show how much of that sugar is added, as well as a daily value percentage for added sugars.
My Thoughts: Why didn’t food labels have this before? Great idea.