Hey There Friends! How’s it goin?
If you’ve been keeping up with the health news recently, you’ve probably already heard about the proposed changes to the Nutrition Labels in the U.S.
If you’re scratching your head and going ‘huh?’, here’s what I’m talking about
Almost every nutrition fanatic did cartwheels when the news came out. While I believe that looking at the ingredient list is probably a better indicator of how healthful food is…I was right there with them!
Most people just give a cursory glance at the nutrition label before buying something for the first time. Unfortunately, those same people usually don’t understand what they’re looking at!!
The good news is that the proposed changes will make it easier for the average Joe (and Jane!) to understand what the heck is in the food they’re buying and whether or not they should consume it.
The bad news is that these changes aren’t going to be made overnight.
Hell, they’re not even gonna happen in the next year!
- The FDA will be accepting comments on the proposals for the next 3 months
- After that, the changes could take up to a year to be finalized
- Food companies will have up to 2 years to comply with the new nutrition label regulations.
Yep, you read it right…TWO YEARS!
So, my question is:
Are you willing to wait that long to start understanding what’s on Nutrition Labels and in your food?
If your answer is ‘HELL NO!’, you’re in luck, cuz today’s post is all about explaining the current nutrition labels!
Nutrition Labels Explained
Serving Size & Calories
Serving sizes on labels are generally way smaller than what we actually eat. Take for example a box of cereal. Most of them claim serving sizes of just 1/2 cup – 1 cup. Do you measure that out when you’re eating cereal?
I sure as hell didn’t!
So, pay attention to how many servings you are actually consuming. If you eat more than the serving size, you need to increase the other numbers on the label too!
Calories are a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of food.
As a general rule:
- 40 Calories is low
- 100 Calories is moderate
- 400 Calories is high
But, most people eat more calories than they need and still don’t meet recommended nutrient intakes 😕
So while calories can be important, you need to understand what the rest of the nutrition label is telling you!
Limit these Nutrients
Consuming foods with excess amounts of fats, cholesterol and sodium can increase the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and some cancers.
And most people actually get too much of these nutrients 😕
When looking at the numbers on this part of the nutrition label, less is definitely better!
Note: Food companies can claim to have 0g of some nutrients once they contain less than 0.5 grams per serving. So, if you’re eating multiple servings of ‘fat-free’ foods, know that number can add up and become pretty significant!!
Get Enough of these Nutrients
Getting the recommended amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins A & C, calcuim and iron may help improve health and reduce the risk of some diseases.
Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough of these 5 nutrients in their diets 🙁
Stay away from empty calories by choosing foods that have high amounts of these nutrients. That way you’ll make the most of what you eat!
Percentage Daily Values (%DVs) are based on the Daily Value recommendations for key nutrients for a 2000 calorie diet. Even if you don’t know how many calories you consume in a day, the numbers on the nutrition label can still be a good guide.
Daily Values & %DVs
%DVs can be used as a quick frame of reference for comparisons between foods or to confirm food claims like ‘no fat’ or ‘low sodium’.
As a general guide:
- 5 %DVs or less is low
- 20% DVs or more is high
So, for the nutrients you need to limit, aiming for foods with a lot less then 5%DVs is ideal. On the other hand, try to eat foods with 20%DVs or more for nutrients like fiber and iron.Note: Trans Fat, Sugars and Protein have no %DVs listed on most nutrition labels because they have not Daily Recommended Values.
What about you?
What are your thoughts on the proposed Nutrition Label changes?
Is there something you don’t understand about the current nutrition labels?
Share in the comments below!