Let’s talk about Michelle Obama’s Nutrition Label Changes.
So you know how you can pick up a nutrition label from a store and get overwhelmed by all the numbers? I know when I first started looking at labels, I was overwhelmed, so I’m sure I’m not alone.
It’s been TWO DECADES since nutrition label facts have been updated by the FDA and now Michelle Obama is working on changing them.
“We’re overhauling these labels to make them easier to read and understand,” Obama said. “You as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into a grocery story, pick an item off the shelf and determine if this product is good for your family.”
The graphic below shows a side-by-side comparison of the current label, which is on the left, and the FDA’s proposed update.
The first thing you will notice is the calorie count is front and center in a big bold font and they removed the “calories from fat” section. I always thought that calories from fat section was unnecessary anyway.
One of the best parts of this new label is that they added in a section called “added sugars”. YES! WAY TO GO! The FDA said added sugars make up 16% of an average American’s daily calorie intake. Sugar intake is so important to track in our diets and has become one of the main reasons why our country is so obese. That’s for another day though…
The way they describe serving size is also a little different. The servings per container is in bigger and bolder letters and then below, it shows a suggested serving size per person. I think it makes more sense this way.
I can think of one example why this would help. Whenever I used to eat at Jimmy Johns (hello yummy yum subs!!!), I would also get a bag of their Thinny Chips. When I grab a bag of chips at checkout, usually I take a quick look at the calorie count and then make a decision if I want them or not. Well…Jimmy John’s chips are deceiving because in one regular size bag of chips, it has TWO servings. It took me a while to realize this. I think that the newly proposed nutrition labels will make this stand out more and help more people understand what they are putting in their body.
“We now have much more recent food consumption data, and it’s showing that some serving sizes on food labels should be changed,” Mary Poos, a deputy director of the FDA, said in a recent statement.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the label design is “the culmination of years of research,” and an FDA announcement cited the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and data on how much people eat from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey as examples of studies it considered when drafting its proposal.
Another change on the proposed new label is that companies would be required to list potassium and vitamin D values for all products because of their salubrious effects on blood pressure and bone health. Vitamins A and C would become optional to list.
This change sounds great, but it’s not going to be cheap. The Obama administration estimates the cost of changing the labels could be around $2 billion dollars. It seems like a lot of money to spend for a small change, but I think it could help with our country’s health issues. If we can help people make better decisions with their nutrition, our healthcare costs should go down. That will pay for the cost of the change, right?
There is currently no timeline for an institution of the new label. The FDA must first seek public comments on the proposal for 90 days.
If the new label gets implemented, the FDA will give manufacturers about two years to comply with the new requirements. This will be a slow process if it happens but I sure hope it does.
The FDA chart below highlights all the new features on its proposed label.
What do you think of this new proposed label? Do you think it will make that big of a difference? Leave a comment in the comments section below!