The USDA has recalculated serving sizes and specified added sugars.

nutrition labels
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Since the debut of the first Nutrition Facts label in 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made it easier for consumers to know exactly what we’re putting into our bodies. But apparently we’ve been putting more than we should into our bodies based on the serving sizes they’ve been providing. With that in mind, updated portions sizes is just one of the major changes coming to nutritional information by the middle of 2018.

The revisions are based on new research and updated scientific information regarding how much people are actually eating and how those foods affect our diets. So assumedly that means the entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia we’ve been shoveling into our mouths will soon be represented on the label, rather than the far-too-unsatisfying suggested amount ¼ cup.

Credit: Courtesy of the USDA
Credit: Courtesy of the USDA

Here are the major changes to expect next year:

  • Serving Sizes have been bolded and updated to reflect actual portions eaten.
  • Servings per container is required, but some smaller-sized, multi-serving packages which could be finished in one sitting will have an additional column to reflect consuming the entirety of the container (i.e. 20 oz. sodas)
  • Calories are in much larger type, since caloric intake has been deemed most important in healthy eating choices. A 2,000 calorie diet will still be used as a baseline for percentages and recommendations.
  • Calories from Fat will no longer be listed at all, as research has shown it’s the type of fat that matters more than the amount.
  • Daily value percentages have been updated to reflect current science.
  • Added sugars are now listed under Total Sugars to let consumers know what has been added during processing. They will also be represented as a percentage of your total recommended daily intake for the first time.
  • Nutrients now state exactly how much of each are in the product (versus just a percentage of daily value); Vitamins A and C have been removed (due to lack of deficiencies); Vitamin D and potassium information is now required on all products.

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The previous label (left) compared to the new label (right).
| Credit: Courtesy of the USDA

Courtesy of the USDA

Major manufacturers must comply with the new labeling procedures by July 26, 2018 and smaller companies will have an additional year to make the necessary changes to their packaging.