The New Nutrition Labels Make It Harder to Pretend You Didn’t See the Calorie Count

Photo: Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that its proposed changes for the 20-year-old Nutrition Facts label were approved.

The first thing listed on the new label is servings per container. Below that, serving size and calories are in bigger, bolded fonts and “calories from fat” is gone because experts now believe that the type of fat is more important than the calories it contains. Serving sizes have been updated to reflect what people actually eat. If a package contains between one or two servings, like a 20-ounce soda, the manufacturer is required to list the nutritional info for the entire package since people typically consume it in one sitting.

The percent daily values will stay on the right, not move to the left as previously thought, and they’ll be better defined with this footnote: “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”

Old label, meet new label. Photo: FDA

Perhaps the most controversial change is the requirement to list the amount and percent daily value of added sugar, if any. This is sweet stuff that isn’t naturally occurring and is the current whipping boy of the nutrition world. The FDA has proposed that people limit added sugar to 10 percent of their daily calories, or 50 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet. It will be listed under total sugars.

Manufacturers have until July 26, 2018, to make the switch. But companies with less than $10 million in annual food sales get an additional year to comply.

What the New Nutrition Labels Will Look Like