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A New View for Nutrition Facts
by admin August 3, 2016

By Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, CDN

Senior Nutritionist, Price Chopper/Market 32

For more than 20 years, Americans have been turning the package around to read the nutrition fact panel, a graphic summary of the nutrients deemed most important to understand for making informed food choices. The label initiative is overseen by the FDA, and it has only changed once since it was first required by federal law, the NLEA Act of 1994. That 2006 update was the addition of trans fats, as they were discovered to have substantial negative health impact, particularly on heart disease risk. It was a great example of putting advances in nutrition science to work for the health of all Americans.

More scientific updates are being rolled out in the second label format update, which was finalized this past spring. Label updates include:

  • Increasing the type size for “Calories,” “servings per container” and the “Serving size” declaration, and bolding the number of calories and the “Serving size” declaration. Serving sizes are being aligned with the larger portions most people consume, so the labels will be more accurate and can help people understand content, without having to do calculations.
  • Updating required nutrients – changing vitamin C to vitamin D, and vitamin A to potassium. The labels will show the amount of each, as well as the daily value percentage.
  • Daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D are being updated, based on newer scientific evidence.
  • The label will also clarify what daily values mean regarding how they contribute to a healthy diet.

The most controversial addition is the new “Added Sugars” labeling requirement. Reducing added sugars is being targeted by multiple health organizations, and new recommendations are outlined in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The current label has no way to show what amount of carbohydrate is added versus natural sugars. This label change is a good direction, and I expect the education around it to be refined over time, very much like our understanding of fats has changed – not all good, not all bad, context and source are likely to become important as science continues to examine this.

At Price Chopper and Market 32, we continue to offer the NuVal® Nutrition Scores on the shelf tags of more than 18,000 items. You can continue to use the NuVal® Scores the way many of our customers use it every day – choose higher-scoring items to make a more nutritious choice, and then check the label to learn more about your item. Together, the score and the nutrition label are a powerful toolkit promoting better nutrition for you and your family.

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LiveSmart supports the Classroom Enrichment Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and is made possible by donations from St. Peter’s Health Partners and Price Chopper, with promotional services provided by the Times Union and WNYT/NewsChannel 13. LiveSmart is compiled by Helen Susan Edelman, Project Director. This project ensures 70,000 students and teachers in the Capital Region have equal access to news content during the school year.