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How Will the New Nutrition Panel Label Differ From the Old One?

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  February 27, 2014 05:13 PM

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Well, it has been more than 20 years since the Nutrition Fact Panel first appeared on the food label so the time has come to update it based on the latest nutrition science.  Since poor nutrition is associated with obesity, heart disease, certain cancers, stroke, and diabetes, the FDA has proposed a new nutrition panel that will make it easier for consumers to make healthier food choices at the supermarket.

The proposed new panel will replace out-of-date serving sizes to better align with how much people really eat.  For example, a serving of ice cream (and the corresponding calories) is currently listed on the panel as a ½ cup.  This means that a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey is supposed to serve four people.  Since you likely scooped out a full cup when you served ice cream, the new proposed Nutrition Fact Panel will now reflect this more realistic amount in your bowl.

Source:  FDA
“The new changes are based on science, and they take people’s actual eating behavior into account.  Serving sizes for many products have been updated to realistically reflect the amounts people actually eat at one sitting and nutrient [calorie] comparisons between ‘per serving’ and ‘per container’ are available,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Dr. Glenna McCollum. 

In other words, when you guzzle a 20-ounce bottle of soda, the calories will reflect your entire consumption.
Source:  FDA
In addition to the above changes, both potassium and vitamin D, two important nutrients that many folks are falling short of in their diets will also be added along with calcium and iron.  The amount of vitamin A and C per serving will no longer be required to be listed, but the amount of 'added sugars' will be listed.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the old and new Nutrition Fact Panels:

                                 Old:                                                                   New:

Once these proposed label changes are solidified, manufacturers will have just over two years to comply with these new requirements.

Be well, Joan

                                            Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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