Do you make it a point to read nutrition labels when you’re shopping for your groceries? Smart strategy! Knowing the ingredients in packaged food, as well as other important tidbits like the number of calories and the amount of fat and cholesterol in a serving, will help you make the best choices for your health.
But did you know that nutrition labels are set to change? We’ve gathered some info on what you can expect, as well as when you can expect these changes to take effect.
Why Bother Changing Nutrition Labels?
Back in 2016, the FDA let everyone know that they were planning on changing the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. Doing so would make it even easier for individuals to make wiser choices. And the changes to the labeling rules are a long time coming, as the existing Nutrition Facts label is over 20 years old!
How Will the New Nutrition Labels Look?
If you aren’t a fan of change, you might be annoyed by the idea of the Nutrition Facts label looking different from what you’re used to. But, trust us, this is a good type of change.
The new label will be based upon the latest research in the world of science, nutrition, and health. This means that you will be gaining access to more accurate information about what you eat every day. The goal is to provide you with greater insight into serving size and nutrient content, and the design itself will also change a bit to make the most important details stand out. Nice, right?
Here are some of the changes that you can anticipate:
- Serving Size, Servings Per Container, and Calories will be showcased in a font that is larger and bolder.
- Single serving sizes will be updated to more accurately reflect just how much a person will typically consume in a sitting.
- Total sugars will still be listed, but there will be an extra line for added sugars. Perfect for those who want to cut back on sugar that could damage teeth!
- The list of nutrients at the bottom of the label will change to include vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium. Compare this to the old label, which featured vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. However, manufacturers could voluntarily list the amounts of other nutrients as well.
- The nutrients list will also show you the actual amount of each nutrient, in mcg or mg, in addition to the percent Daily Value.
- There will be a new footnote regarding the daily value. It will serve to clarity what % Daily Value means.
- You will still see amounts for Total Fat, Saturated Fat, and Trans Fat, but Calories from Fat will no longer be there. And you will also see values for various nutrients, such as sodium and fiber, but they will be updated to reflect the latest research.
What Should You Focus on When Shopping for Food?
Overall, the new nutrition label should make it easier for you to follow a wholesome diet, and the serving sizes will be more realistic, so you might even have to do less math. Woohoo!
When looking at a foods label, experts recommend honing in on the nutrients that you need to get more of, such as fiber, potassium, vitamin D, and calcium. Foods that are high in these vital nutrients are better for you.
At the same time, you can check the label for unwanted fat, cholesterol, and sodium, which you should aim to get less of in your diet because these have the potential to increase your risk of disease.
When Can You Expect to See These Changes?
Are you excited about these upcoming changes? So are we! Unfortunately, they won’t be implemented in 2018 as originally planned. That’s because the FDA wants to give manufacturers more time to change their labels.
According to the FDA website, manufacturers will now have until the start of 2020 to make the changes. And companies with less than $10 million in annual sales will have until 2021. Whether or not more delays will take place along the way is yet to be seen.
How Else Can You Be Sure You’re Eating Right?
Even though it will be a while before you start to see the new Nutrition Facts label on foods at the grocery store, there are steps that you can take starting today to eat right. After all, what you eat affects every aspect of your well-being, even right down to your oral health.
In addition to reading labels before putting items into your cart, try to eat more of the foods that support the strength of your teeth, whether you are preparing a summer get-together or a holiday party. Even reducing your gluten intake might help improve the health of your teeth and gums.
It’s a new year, so it’s the perfect time to start eating right and taking extra steps to optimize wellness! With a Spirit dental plan, you could see your dentist for cleanings and checkups throughout the coming year, and with the help of nutrition labels, you can choose foods that are packed with nutrients that support your teeth and gums. A brighter smile and a healthier body for 2018? Let’s get it done!