Thursday, January 30, 2014

FDA Says Nutrition Facts Label Will Get a Makeover

After 20 years, the nutrition facts label on the back of food packages is getting a makeover.
Knowledge about nutrition has evolved since the early 1990s, and the Food and Drug Administration says the labels need to reflect that.
Nutritionists and other health experts have their own wish list for label changes.
The number of calories should be more prominent, they say, and the amount of added sugar and percentage of whole wheat in the food should be included. They also want more clarity on serving sizes.
"There's a feeling that nutrition labels haven't been as effective as they should be," says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "When you look at the label, there are roughly two dozen numbers of substances that people aren't intuitively familiar with."
Nutrition Label Generator
Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods, says 20 years ago "there was a big focus on fat, and fat undifferentiated." Since then, health providers have focused more on calories and warned people away from saturated and trans fats rather than all fats. Trans fats were separated out on the label in 2006.
"The food environment has changed and our dietary guidance has changed," says Taylor, who was at the agency in the early 1990s when the FDA first introduced the label at the behest of Congress.
The FDA has sent guidelines for the new labels to the White House, but Taylor would not estimate when they might be released. The FDA has been working on the issue for a decade, he said.
There's evidence that more people are reading the labels in recent years.
An Agriculture Department study said 42 percent of working adults used the panel always or most of the time in 2009 and 2010, up from 34 percent two years earlier. Older adults were more likely to use it.
Read entire article at http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/fda-revise-nutrition-facts-label-21641141 
Image: Blank Nutrition Facts Image from http://www.onlinelabels.com/label-generator-tools/Nutrition-label-generator.aspx.

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