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Want to Stay Healthy? Read Nutrition Labels

November 12, 2016
Plain English Version
Old label is on the left.

Old label is on the left.

Most consumers read the nutrition label on the food they buy. It is a good idea. The government makes changes every few years. A new label is about to come out.

The label itself will look the same. Most people agree it is easy to read. There are some changes worth noting.

Serving sizes. The serving size will reflect the amounts of food people actually eat. The old label said what companies thought the serving size should be. The new label may show larger amounts. It will not say this is the amount you should eat. There is some disagreement about this will cause people to eat more.

Calories. The total calorie count is in large letters. This is an effort to slow down the obesity epidemic.

Added sugars. This is a new item. It will show the amount of natural sugar and the amount of sugar added to the product. The less added sugar, the better.

Sodium and dietary fiber. New amounts are the result of changes in government recommendations.

Vitamin D and potassium. The label will now show grams. This will help people add more of these nutrients to their diet.

Vitamins A and C. These will not have to be on the label. People rarely consume too little of these nutrients.

Fat. The “Calories from Fat” line is gone. “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat” replace it. The type of fat is more important than the total amount of fat.

Percent Daily Value. The numbers are still based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

An official said, “The intention is not to tell consumers what to eat.” The important thing is to give information to consumers. It is to help them make decisions about what to eat.

Source: The Washington Post May 20, 2016

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