Your food's nutrition labels are about to change in a big way

The labels on your food are about to get a major upgrade.

The White House and Food and Drug Administration on Friday released their revamp of the standard nutrition label.

Nutrition labels have been a constant fixture on packaged food and drinks since 1990, but they have remained pretty much the same since then.

“The updated label makes improvements to this valuable resource so consumers can make more informed food choices — one of the most important steps a person can take to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a release.

The label change has been something First Lady Michelle Obama has been pushing for since 2014.

Here’s what they changed:

Nutrition labelFDAAn example of the new label.
  • Servings per container gets a bigger font. Knowing how many servings are in a container is key: Without it, the rest of the information doesn’t really matter because the person eating will likely assume that the calorie count implies the entire container (when in reality, there could be 4X that many calories).
  • Serving sizes also gets an update with a bigger font, with the hope that serving sizes will become more realistic.This is especially true for things that are in between one and two servings, the FDA said. For example, a package of candy will now have to change its labels so that it reflects just one serving (as opposed to two smaller servings, which people don’t typically eat).
  • Calories now have a way bigger font, so it’s the most prominent information on the label.
  • Containers with more than one serving will have to have “dual columns,” so that if you’re reaching for a pint of ice cream, you have an idea of how many calories and how much sugar you’ll be consuming if you accidentally finish the whole thing in one sitting.
  • The labels will also reflect new daily values, based on new Dietary Guidelines.
  • “Calories from fat” has been removed from the label, a holdover from when fat was the enemy (now the emphasis is on avoiding sugar).
  • Instead of just giving percentages of daily value for vitamins and nutrients, the labels will also include their amounts in grams. Vitamin D and potassium will now need to be included. Calcium and iron will still be required as well, but vitamins A and C are off the hook because deficiencies happen less frequently.
  • The label also comes with a new footnote explaining what daily values are.

The change to the new labels will have to happen before July 26, 2018, the FDA said. Get ready to see your nutrition facts in an entirely new light.

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