most important information to look for — always, always,
always — on a food label? Most people say calories. Others
say fat. Sugar is important, too, especially added sugar.
the most important information? Serving Size. Everything else
is based on that particular amount of food.
for instance, I want to compare different brands of ice cream.
The US Food and Drug Administration (the folks who recently
updated the Nutrition Facts label) has changed some of the
standard serving sizes on food labels “to reflect what
people actually eat and drink. For example, the serving size
for ice cream was previously 1/2 cup and now is 2/3 cup.”
Right. So, back
to my example. When comparing ice creams, I need to know that
the calories and other nutrients listed on the label are
accurate only if I eat 2/3 cup. If twice that much gets
accidentally scooped into my bowl, I will chalk up double the
calories, fat, sugar and you get the picture.
CALORIES are important, too. So important that the newest
Nutrition Facts label now shows CALORIES in BIG, BOLD letters.
from fat” is one item that was removed from the newest food
label. That’s because research now shows that the amount of
fat we consume is less important than the type of fat. And
that explains why we still see Saturated and Trans fats on
this new label; they are the types of fat most associated with
inflammatory conditions such as heart disease.
Sugars” has been added to the newest Nutrition Facts label
to help us see the difference between those that occur
naturally in a food (such as raisins in cereal) and those that
are added (such as sugar in cereal). Other sugars in the Added
Sugar category include syrups, honey and concentrated sugars
from fruit or vegetable juices. This information can help us
stay within the guideline to limit our intake of added sugar
to no more than 10 percent of our daily calories.
the new label have changed as well. Vitamins A and C have been
replaced with vitamin D and potassium, since these nutrients
are more apt to be lacking in our diets. Another good
addition: We will now see the actual amounts (in milligrams or
micrograms) of nutrients on the label instead of just the
percent Daily Value ( percentDV).
And to help
those who wonder what in the heck is the percentDaily Value, a
footnote has been added to the bottom of the Nutrition Facts
label to better explain it. In short, percentDV tells us what
percentage of the recommended amount of a nutrient is
contained in one serving of a particular food. A 3-cup serving
of raw spinach, for example, provides 8 percent of the calcium
we need in a day.
By the way, you
won’t see the newest Nutrition Facts label on everything for
awhile. The deadline for large manufacturers is January 1,
2020. Smaller companies have until 2021 to comply, says the