Health & Wellness Promotion
Reading Nutrition Labels
Reading nutrition labels can be confusing and seem like a waste of time, however they do provide valuable information on the food products you choose to eat! In May 2016, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) released the finalized new design for a new nutrition facts label that will be more consumer-friendly so that consumers will be able to make informed decisions about the foods they consume. Companies will have until July 2018 to comply with the new label guidelines.
Old label VS. New label
Calories: Step 2 is reading how many calories are in one serving size. On the new label, calories will be printed bigger to make it easier to read. If you want to enjoy 2 servings of a food item, make sure to multiply the calories by 2, to understand how many calories you are consuming.
**NOTE: calories are a unit of energy. Consuming the right amount gives your body energy to work!
Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium: Be aware that you do want to limit these items as they can contribute to chronic diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease. Use the % Daily Value numbers on the right to help you understand how much you are consuming in relation to how much you need in a day.
**NOTE: saturated fat and trans fat are known as the “bad fats” which is why we want to limit them. They usually come from animal products like red meat, pork, and dairy. Foods like olive oil, vegetable oils, avocados, nuts and seeds are high in unsaturated fats or the “good fats.” These kinds of fats are an excellent addition to any balanced diet and have many health and nutrient benefits!Daily Value numbers on the right to help you understand how much you are consuming in relation to how much you need in a day.
Carbohydrates: Important to note here is that the new label will feature Added Sugars. This is to help consumers understand the difference between naturally occurring sugars that are found in fruit, dairy, and many other food products, which are part of a balanced diet. Added Sugars are another item you want to limit in your diet as they can contribute to things like weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Examples of Added Sugars include honey, sugar, sugar cane, agave, corn syrup, etc.
The Footnote: This is important because it tells consumers how much of a nutrient, from one serving, contributes to a daily diet of 2,000 calories. The % Daily Value helps consumers to understand if a food item is high or low in a nutrient.
**NOTE: items like trans fats don’t have % daily values because the goal is to limit these as much as possible in the diet. Protein only needs a % daily value listed if the package makes a claim like the product is “high in protein.” Sugar doesn’t have a % daily value because there has been no daily value established for naturally occurring sugars. However on the new label, added sugars have a % daily value because there is a reference value for how much added sugars consumers should eat in a day.