On Friday, the nutrition facts label got its first overhaul in 20 years.
“Big News: Today, for the first time in 20 years, the #NutritionFacts label has been updated to help us make smarter – and healthier – choices for our families. #LetsMove,” first lady Michelle Obama captioned a photo of herself discussing the new label on Instagram.
So, what’s new?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,the new label features eight key changes, including updated serving sizes, calories listed in larger font, serving per container listed in larger type, updated daily values, a new footnote, a listing of added sugars, and a change in required listed nutrients, along with the actual amounts declared.
Regarding serving size, most quantities have increased. On the old nutrition label, one pint of ice cream would equal four servings, where as on the new label one pint of ice cream is equal to three servings.
The same thing has happened with beverages. Where before, a 20 ounce bottle would be more than one serving, now, both a 12 ounce and 20 ounce beverage will equal one serving as most people “typically drink both sizes in one sitting,” according to the FDA.
“What’s considered a single serving has changed in the decades since the original nutrition label was created,” the FDA says on its site. “So now serving sizes will be more realistic to reflect how much people typically eat at one time.”
The FDA clarifies that it is required by law for serving sizes to be “based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating.”
On the new label, manufacturers are now required to list the actual amount, as well as the percent daily value of vitamin D and potassium, along with iron and calcium, which were listed on the previous label. Vitamin A and C are no longer requirements, but can be included voluntarily.
The new foot note is intended to better explain what the percent daily value means and will read, “The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories is used for general nutrition advice.”
One final big change is the addition of added sugars on the label, which is now included as an effort to help Americans make more informed decisions.
“Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar, and this is consistent with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” the FDA states.
Manufacturers – with the exception of smaller companies who will be given an extra year – have until July 26, 2018 to switch over to the new label.