Nutrition Facts Label Changes to Include Added Sugars

Nutrition Facts Label Changes to Include Added Sugars

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MSLIS
Posted May 30, 2016

Background

On May 20, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated the Original Nutrition Facts label that you see on most packaged foods sold in the United States.

The New Nutrition Facts label is easier to read and is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 to 2020.

Food manufacturers have until July 26, 2018 to begin using the New Nutrition Facts label, so when you visit your food store, you may see either the Original Nutrition Facts label or the New Nutrition Facts label.

The Nutrition Facts label is a leading source of scientific information regarding calories, fat, and other nutrients. Learning how to use the Nutrition Facts label is an important step towards reducing your risk of heart disease and obesity.

New Label – What is Different

You may wish to compare the Original vs. New Label Format in the FDA document titled, Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label

Added Sugars

A major difference between the Original Nutrition Facts label and the New Nutrition Facts label is that the New Nutrition Facts label must include, under Total Sugars, the amount of added sugars, to help consumers understand how much sugar has been added to the food product. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods, such as fresh fruit and milk lactose. Added sugars are sugars that are put into foods during preparation or processing.

Limiting calories from added sugars is one of the Key Elements of Healthy Eating Patterns, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 to 2020.

According to nationwide food consumption surveys, Americans get about 13 percent of their total calories from added sugars, with major sources being sugar-sweetened beverages (such as, alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea, energy drinks, fruit drinks, and soft drinks) and snacks and sweets (such as, candies, dairy desserts, grain-based desserts, jams, syrups, and sweet toppings).

The FDA recognizes that added sugars can be a part of a healthy diet. However, FDA reminds consumers that it is difficult to also eat foods with enough dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals and still stay within calorie limits, if  you consume more than ten percent of your total daily calories from added sugars.

The updates to the Nutrition Facts label help to increase consumer awareness of the quantity of added sugars in foods.

Nutrients

The nutrients required on the New Nutrition Facts label have changed. Also, the amount of each nutrient must be included. Americans do not always get enough Vitamin D and Potassium. So, food manufacturers must include these nutrients on the New Nutrition Facts label.

Vitamin D is important for its role in bone health. Potassium helps to lower blood pressure. Calcium and iron are already required on the label and will continue to be on the New Nutrition Facts label.

Vitamin A and Vitamin C will not be required on the New Nutrition Facts label, because, although American diets lacked Vitamin A and Vitamin C in the early 1990s, these deficiencies have become rare in the general population. Food manufacturers may still list these vitamins voluntarily.

Serving Sizes and Calories

The serving sizes and calories are in larger and bolder type. And, the serving sizes have been updated. By law, serving sizes must be based on what people eat, not on what they should be eating. How much people eat and drink has changed since the previous serving size requirements were published in 1993. For example, a serving of soda has changed from eight ounces to twelve ounces.

Label Footnote

The New Nutrition Facts label footnote has been clarified. The Percent Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. For general nutrition advice, 2,000 calories is used for a daily diet.

How to Make the Nutrition Facts Label Work for You: Ask Yourself Questions

The best way to make the Nutrition Facts label work for you is to ask yourself questions about what you see on the label.

Serving Size

Ask yourself how many servings there are in the package. Then, ask yourself, “How many servings am I consuming?”

For example, are you consuming one-half serving, one serving, or more? If one serving is one cup and you eat an entire package of two servings, you would be eating two cups. That doubles the calories and the other nutrient numbers.

Calories

The calorie section of the Nutrition Facts label can help you to manage your weight, that is, to gain, to lose, or to maintain. As a General Guide to Calories, 40 calories is low, 100 calories is moderate, and 400 calories is high.

Let’s say that a package contains two servings, and there are 250 calories in one serving, with 110 of those calories from fat. What if you ate the entire package content? Then, you would be eating two servings or 500 calories, and 220 calories would come from fat.

These questions and others are in the FDA document, titled, How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label  Although How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label was created before the New Nutrition Facts label was finalized, it presents label-building skills, guiding you on how to use nutrition labels to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or to treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Summary Note: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) assesses the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States by using nationwide food consumption surveys that combine interviews and physical examinations.
(Accessed 20 May 2016)

Health dot Gov. Official website of Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 to 2020   Eighth Edition.
Summary Note: Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated every five years, based on current scientific evidence.
(Accessed 20 May 2016)

U.S. Department of Agriculture. ChooseMyPlate dot Gov. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 to 2020. Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate
Summary Note: ChooseMyPlate helps to communicate how consumers can put the Dietary Guidelines into daily practice. Includes family food activities and sample menus.
(Accessed 20 May 2016)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. About FDA. Significant Dates in U.S. Food and Drug Law History
Summary Note: List of milestones in U.S. Food and Drug Law History. Includes descriptive paragraph on Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, 1990.
(Accessed 30 May 2016)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Labeling and Nutrition. Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label  Food Guidance Regulation issued on May 20, 2016.
Summary Note: This document highlights changes to the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. Discusses the link between diet and chronic diseases, such as obesity and heart disease. Includes questions and answers with a Side-by-Side Comparison of Label Format: Original vs. New.
(Accessed 20 May 2016)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Labeling and Nutrition. How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label
Summary Note: Based on the Original Label Format, this document is useful because it provides step-by-step instructions on how you can make quick, informed food choices by building your label reading skills. This document was issued in June 2000 and updated July 2003 and November 2004. Includes sample labels and examples.
(Accessed 21 May 2016)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Press Announcements. FDA Modernizes Nutrition Facts Label for Packaged Foods  FDA News Release. May 20, 2016.
Summary Note: The FDA news release lists Key Updates of the Nutrition Facts food label to help consumers make informed food choices.
(Accessed 20 May 2016)

U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990  Public Law 104 STAT. 2353. 101st Congress. 1990.
Summary Note: Act amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prescribe nutrition labeling for foods.
(Accessed 30 May 2016)

 

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Child Nutrition

Child Nutrition
Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MSLIS
Information Specialist

Posted January 26, 2016

Introduction

Sometimes, you may think of Nutrition Science as a field that only scientists are qualified to study. Instead, Nutrition Science includes behaviors and social factors related to your own food choices.

The foods you eat provide energy (calories) and nutrients, such as carbohydrate, fat, minerals, protein, vitamins, and water. Eating foods in the right amounts gives your body energy to perform daily activities, helps you to maintain a healthy body weight, and can lower your risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Child nutrition is especially important, because a healthy diet helps children to grow, to learn, and to prevent obesity as they grow into adulthood.

Choose the Right Foods in the Right Amounts for Your Children

In 1992, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is the agency in charge of nutrition, introduced the Food Guide Pyramid to American consumers. The Food Guide Pyramid had six vertical stripes to represent five food groups plus oils.

In 2011, a colorful plate, called, MyPlate, replaced the Food Guide Pyramid as the symbol for healthy eating. MyPlate has four sections (fruit, grains, protein, and vegetables), plus a side order of dairy. MyPlate looks like a place setting, is easy to use, and is available in 20 languages.

MyPlate is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published every five years for public health professionals. Each edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects current knowledge of nutrition science. The 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines is available exclusively on Health dot Gov.

Teach Your Children the Ingredients of a Nutritious Diet

According to the Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate, here is what you need to do to give your children a nutritious diet:

  • Make half of what is on your child’s plate fruits and vegetables.
  • For protein, choose lean beef, chicken or turkey, fish, eggs, nuts and food seeds, beans, peas, lentils, or tofu.
  • For grains, select whole-grain products, such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, whole-wheat cereals, and brown rice, because they are high in food fiber.
  • Instead of frying foods, grill or steam them.
  • Limit junk food, which is food with high energy density and low nutrient density.
  • Offer water, milk, or fruit juice, instead of fruit drinks or sodas.

Be a Healthy Role Model for Your Children

Show your children that you love them. Consider following these U.S. Department of Agriculture tips:

  • Reward with attention, not food. Comfort with hugs and talks. Choose not to offer sweets as rewards, so that your child does not think that dessert foods are better than other foods.
  • Show by example. Let your children see that you like to munch on raw vegetables, such as baby carrots, celery, and cauliflower.
  • Go food shopping together, and let your children make healthy food choices.
  • Focus on each other at the table. Talk about fun and happy things at mealtime. Turn off the TV and computer games.
  • Listen to your child. If your child says that she or he is hungry between meals, offer a healthy snack.

For more information, go to ChooseMyPlate dot Gov.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other health care provider.

Selected Information Resources

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Breakfast: the Key to Learning.
Summary Note: Lists seven suggestions for how to encourage children to eat breakfast. Based on study results showing that children who eat breakfast concentrate better in the classroom and perform better on math, reading and standardized tests.
(Accessed 18 January 2016)

Mayo Clinic Staff. Healthy Lifestyle. Children’s Health.
Summary Note: Nutrition basics for children at various ages. Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 to 2020.
(Accessed 18 January 2016)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth. Feeding Your Child Athlete.
Summary Note: Nutritional needs, diet, importance of drinking water, meal and snack suggestions for child athletes. Includes link to audio version of text.
(Accessed 18 January 2016)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth. Food Guide Pyramid Becomes a Plate. Summary Note: Explains the U.S. Department of Agriculture change from the Food Guide Pyramid symbol, to the MyPlate symbol, as the model for healthy eating in the United States. Discusses importance of the five food groups: dairy, fruit, grains, protein, and vegetables.
(Accessed 21 January 2016)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth. MyPlate Food Guide.
Summary Note: For audience of teens, describes how the U.S. Department of Agriculture symbol, MyPlate, works. Shows color graphic of MyPlate food divisions. Links to audio version of text. Also in Spanish.
(Accessed 21 January 2016)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth. Why Drinking Water is the Way to Go. Summary Note: For audience of kids, discusses why water is important to health. Links to audio version of text. Also in Spanish.
(Accessed 21 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Choose MyPlate dot Gov.
Summary Note: MyPlate in 20 languages.
(Accessed 24 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Choose My Plate dot Gov. Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series. Be a Healthy Role Model for Children
Summary Note: Ten tips to help children develop healthy eating habits for life. Encourages parent and child talk, family food shopping, and physical activities.
(Accessed 18 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. MyPlate/MiPlato
Summary Note: Defines MyPlate as part of a larger communication effort based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
(Accessed 12 January 2016).

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Food Guide Pyramid.
Summary Note: Historical references to the Food Guide Pyramid.
(Accessed 12 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Food and Nutrition Programs. School Meals
Summary Note: Links to child nutrition programs and resources.
(Accessed 21 January 2016).

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Food and Nutrition Service. School Meal Contacts
Summary Note: Search websites by state for address and phone number of School Meal Contacts.
(Accessed 21 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Food and Nutrition Service. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
Summary Note: Frequently Asked Questions about WIC. Includes section with address and phone number of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Public Information Staff.
(Accessed 21 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). School Nutrition Success Stories
Summary Note: Examples of schools and school districts in various states that have implemented successful school nutrition approaches to improve the nutritional quality of foods sold outside of Federal meal programs.
(Accessed 25 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nutrition and the Health of Young People
Summary Note: Four-page document with list of brief factual statements on nutrition and the health of young people. Subsections include benefits of healthy eating and consequences of a poor diet. Resources section includes school nutrition standards. Statements are supported by footnotes to peer-reviewed literature.
(Accessed 22 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Division of Adolescent and School Health.
Implementing Strong Nutrition Standards for Schools: Financial Implications Summary Note: Report provides evidence that schools can have strong nutrition standards while maintaining financial stability.
(Accessed 25 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). National Institutes of Health (NIH). Better Nutrition Every Day. How to Make Healthier Food Choices. NIH News in Health September 2015.
Summary Note: Describes how parents can be good role models for their children, from the day their child is born. Gives examples of how often to eat certain foods.
(Accessed 18 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Time to Talk: Five Things to Know about Dietary Supplements and Children
Summary Note: Lists five things to know when considering dietary supplements for children. Cautions that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe.”
(Accessed 18 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus Child Nutrition
Summary Note: Entry to extensive list of online information resources organized under sections, such as, Start Here, Latest News, Specific Conditions, Children, and Teenagers. Links to other languages.
(Accessed 18 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). National Institutes of Health (NIH). National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Definitions of Health Terms: Nutrition
Summary Note: Definitions are in plain language.
(Accessed 11 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Office on Women’s Health. GirlsHealth dot Gov. Nutrition.
Summary Note: Girls can “read what girls like you say about eating healthy.” Links to healthy weight goals, eating healthy at restaurants, and what to do if you are a vegetarian. Sidebar with links to Girls Health Glossary, with definitions of nutrition terms.
(Accessed 18 January 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Eighth Edition. December 2015.
Summary Note: Official website and entry to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 to 2020. Discusses the purpose, process, and evolution of the Dietary Guidelines. Includes contact information.
(Accessed 23 January 2016)