You might have noticed, the labels on your food have a new look. Since summer 2018 the change got implemented gradually. Smaller companies have a grace period to switch over to the new labels but most larger companies have already transferred.
Any active person has to make sure they get enough healthy carbs, lean protein, good quality fats and not over-consume saturated fats, cholesterol, and added sugars. Without looking at the food’s nutritional panel, it might be hard to judge what is considered healthy and what should be avoided.
The main reasons for the change where the following:
Change 1. Features a SIMPLER Design
For some consumers – athletes and health seekers alike – it was simply too confusing. For example, not everybody got the meaning of %DV (percent of Daily Value) correctly. It should help you to understand the nutrition information relatively to a standardized daily diet. Or it was not highlighting the amount of calories properly.
Change 2. Reflects Updated Information about Nutrition Science
The daily values (DV) are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed and are used to calculate the %DV. They got updated based on new nutrition related scientific evidence. “Calories from Fat” has been
removed and “Added Sugars” got added. Vitamin D and potassium are now required, but Vitamin A+C not longer.
Change 3. Updates Serving Sizes and Labeling Requirements for Certain Package Sizes
The portion size did not always reflect the amount a person would actually consume. For example, a bag of chips could have been labeled as 2 serving sizes, but most people would eat the entire package as 1 serving.
How Do You Read The New Labels?
Use these easy steps to find your way.
Look at the serving size. Compare the serving size on the package to the amount that you eat eg. are you eating 5 or 15 almonds
Look at the calories. Calories are an quick way to tell you if the food you are looking at is ‘high-caloric’ or ‘low-caloric’ eg. regular cheese vs. low-fat cottage cheese.
Look at the percent Daily Value (% Daily Value).
% Daily Value puts nutrients on a scale from 0% to 100%. This scale tells you if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in one serving of your food eg. with dried apricots you can only cover 1% of your daily protein needs, but you would get 12% of your daily carbohydrates, and 15% of the potassium you need.
Low: 5% or less of a nutrient
High: 20% or more of a nutrient
Pick foods based on their nutrients.
Get in the habit of checking DVs to choose foods high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and low in saturated fat, added sugar and sodium.
Physically active people need to select foods high in high quality carbohydrates, ideally naturally occurring sources. Which means without a high amount of added sugars.
And they have an increased use for lean protein. So check the amount of fat when selecting milk, cheese, meat or similar foods.
Ingredient List – Check The Order!
The ingredient list shows each ingredient in a food by its common or usual name in descending order by weight.
So, the ingredient with the greatest contribution to the product weight is listed first, and the ingredient contributing the least by weight is listed last.
To Sum It Up
The three main changes are a modified list of nutrients, an updated serving size, and a refreshed design. The new labels should make it easier for you to choose healthier foods.