The New Nutrition Labels
What's new and what it means for your teeth
The nutrition label on packaged goods is changing to make it easier for people to understand the nutritional value of what they are eating and to be in line with current scientific knowledge.
This change, mandated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA,) reflects current research on what people actually eat or drink.
|Food Serving Sizes Get a Reality Check, source: FDA.gov|
For example, because people usually drink a can of sugar-sweetened soda in one sitting, the serving size of soda is being increased from 8 ounces to 12 ounces, the size of the can of soda. Twenty ounce bottles of sugar-sweetened beverages likewise will be considered only one serving. Other serving sizes will decrease. The serving size of yogurt, for instance, will decrease from 8 ounces to 6 ounces because data revealed that 6 ounces is the amount that someone typically eats in one serving. Any package that contains what might be considered one serving and could be eaten in one sitting must list the total amounts per package or have two labels, one per serving and one per package. (No more doing the math!)
Also changing are the nutrients that are listed. Some, like Vitamin A and C are being eliminated, while others, like Vitamin D and Potassium are now required. How fat is being listed is also changing. In addition to total fat, the type of fat is included.
Completely new to the label is a listing of added sugars.
Obesity is a huge health problem. In the U.S. over 72 million adults and over 12 million children are obese. Not one State is within the national obesity rate health goal of less than 15%
Sugar is a major culprit.
Added sugars should be no more than 10 percent of total calories. Any more than that prevents people from staying within daily calories limits and getting the valuable nutrients they need. There is no recommended amount of sugar in the diet and certainly no recommended amount of added sugar. Although sugar fuels our cells, our bodies make all that is needed by converting the food we eat into sugar. Additional sugar is simply not necessary in the diet.
Science has long known that the teeth are negatively affected by sugar as well. For good oral health the recommendation remains to eat whole fruits rather than juices and to strictly limit sugar sweetened beverages in the diet. Sugar along with plaque bacteria can cause cavities and sugar causes inflammation in the entire body, including the mouth.
|Old label vs. New Label, source: FDA.gov|
This change is a great way for everyone to monitor and cut down on sugar in their diets, should they care to do so. But changing the label in and of itself will do nothing unless people take personal responsibility for their own health and also learn how and what they should be eating.
Companies with packaged food and beverage sales over $10 million have until July of 2018 to start using the new labels and rules and smaller companies have an additional year. Be on the look-out for the new labels!
Are you reading nutrition labels to help make healthy food choices?
sources: www.cdc.gov; www.fda.gov
This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition or illness. Please see your doctor or dentist for treatment and any health concerns.