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New US nutrition labels

jen_092
jen_092 Posts: 254 Member
I read about the new initiatives for labeling nutrition facts on food in the US early last year. They must be rolling them out soon because I saw the new label on an item for the first time yesterday. I think most of the changes seem really good like printing the calories in large font, and including added sugars specifically.

One change that seems debatable, though, is the new serving size guidelines. Instead of labeling with what the company thinks we should eat, it would now reflect what "people normally eat today". This could easily lead to people over eating. Though, it would always annoy me when, for example, the package of Poptarts wrapped two in a pouch and told you serving size is 1. Most people just eat the 2 anyway. So perhaps it's for the best to be realistic so people can understand the calories better.

What are some of your thoughts on the new serving size changes, or the label change in general? To read more about the changes I'm referring to - link here:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm
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Replies

  • Sabine_Stroehm
    Sabine_Stroehm Posts: 19,270 Member
    As someone who looks for added sugars, and looks to see why two side by side products may have different calories, more information here is good.

    The serving size bit is weird though.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited January 2017
    I feel like "added sugars" isn't really necessary if you read labels and understand what's in things anyway, but I support it as a change even though it won't affect me. (Realistically, I don't buy that much with multiple ingredients, and what I do buy I'm really familiar with, so it wouldn't be expected to.)

    I haven't seen the bigger calorie labels yet, but seems reasonable.

    I agree that calories from fat was pointless.

    I have mixed feelings about the serving size thing, OP, for the reasons you mention (and it's been a long time since a can of soda was more than one serving). I do think that things that appear to be single serving or are often eaten that way SHOULD be labeled as such, since people report being confused, and I also think things should have even numbers of servings in a container if possible (none of this "about 2.5 servings"). But I also think that we shouldn't give into portion distortion by further distorting ideas of what a portion is -- I would prefer that dry pasta still be 2 oz/56 g, as to me that's a perfectly normal serving size even if I often eat more or less (more often less), and I certainly think 100 g or .5 cup is reasonable for ice cream and don't see why we should suggest that half a pint is an expected serving.

    But, eh.

    I've been convinced that it wouldn't hurt to do it the way they do many other places and have our serving size things plus a 100 g serving column too, for easier comparison.

    I really do think that the label is something of a minor issue in that they are fine now if one reads them but the reality is that most people ignore them (and even ignore calorie information posted in a restaurant where you can't miss it).
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 46,853 Member
    Mycophilia wrote: »
    I don't get why American labels don't have a standardized amount like 100 grams instead of all these arbitrary serving sizes.

    But then again, you guys are one of 3 countries in the world who still uses the imperial system which is also pretty arbitrary lol.
    I wish we'd use the metric system. It'd be so much easier to figure out how to covert everything.

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  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    We use grams on labels.

    I like grams on food and don't mind kilograms for weights at the gym, but am part of the problem on other things, as when people give height in centimeters or speeds in kilograms or (especially) temperature in Centigrade I am annoyed (not at them, but in general) that I have no idea what they mean until I do the conversion. At least the centimeter/kilometer conversions are pretty easy but they still feel wrong to me. (I know it's all what you grow up with.)
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    I would like to see a 100 g listing too.

    This is not related to nutrition info but I'd really like to see a standardized spot for listing expiration dates. Maybe right by the nutrition panel.
  • markrgeary1
    markrgeary1 Posts: 853 Member
    Mycophilia wrote: »
    I don't get why American labels don't have a standardized amount like 100 grams instead of all these arbitrary serving sizes.

    But then again, you guys are one of 3 countries in the world who still uses the imperial system which is also pretty arbitrary lol.

    I agree for food. It's so easy to do the math.

    Many years ago when the US was going metric(70s) there were some things that made no sense. I was a hardwood lumber inspector and the whole system was based on twelfths and eighths. It would have made a lot of incompatible measures.

    Sadly we could have done the bits that made sense and kept legacy where needed. That would have been too easy.
  • malibu927
    malibu927 Posts: 17,567 Member
    jemhh wrote: »
    I would like to see a 100 g listing too.

    This is not related to nutrition info but I'd really like to see a standardized spot for listing expiration dates. Maybe right by the nutrition panel.

    That would be nice. The yogurt I buy prints it on the foil underneath the lid, so I have to remember to write the date on the lid once I use it.
  • pebble4321
    pebble4321 Posts: 1,132 Member
    That looks pretty clear, though as I'm used to the 100g/100ml option I'd miss that.
    I do get that's it's useful to see how much of everything you are getting for the actual serving size that you eat, but the 100g just makes comparisons useful.

    One thing I do like in the linked page is their comment about added sugar: "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".
    This seems like a great way to explain that sugar itself isn't evil, but it can be a problem if too much pushes out other nutrient rich foods from your diet.

    I agree that standardised expiry dates would be very handy - not only location, but format too.
  • MelodyandBarbells
    MelodyandBarbells Posts: 7,689 Member
    I pretty much like all of it. I don't think the serving size bit is encouraging higher portions. Like they said, if you're selling a 20oz soda and you know most people drink up the whole bottle and not in three separate sittings, please just provide calories for the entire bottle.

    After reading their example label, all I could think was "what is this awesome food? It's got 8mg of iron!" Definitely like them showing quantities for vitamins and minerals rather than just percentages.
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    JaneiR36 wrote: »
    I pretty much like all of it. I don't think the serving size bit is encouraging higher portions. Like they said, if you're selling a 20oz soda and you know most people drink up the whole bottle and not in three separate sittings, please just provide calories for the entire bottle.

    After reading their example label, all I could think was "what is this awesome food? It's got 8mg of iron!" Definitely like them showing quantities for vitamins and minerals rather than just percentages.

    Not only the addition of actual amounts (which is a very welcome change), but the dropping of A and C in favor of D and Potassium is also fastastic; especially the latter.
  • zamphir66
    zamphir66 Posts: 582 Member
    I'm confused.

    In the side-by-side example -- which looks to be the same product -- the old version has "Sugars 1g." The new one has 12g of sugars, 10g added sugars. Does this mean added sugars were not listed or counted beforehand? Or is this just a really bad example they've used?
  • CurlyCockney
    CurlyCockney Posts: 1,394 Member
    Mycophilia wrote: »
    I don't get why American labels don't have a standardized amount like 100 grams instead of all these arbitrary serving sizes.

    But then again, you guys are one of 3 countries in the world who still uses the imperial system which is also pretty arbitrary lol.

    I don't understand it either, but I guess it's what they're used to so they manage it. Personally, I not only look at the nutrition per 100g but I also look at the shelf-sticker for the price per 100g, so that I can compare like-with-like.

    Mind you, when I lived in the US I never understood why the sticker price wasn't the price I had to pay - for some reason they leave it to the customer to figure out taxes and only tell them at the checkout!
  • Gallowmere1984
    Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,626 Member
    edited January 2017
    zamphir66 wrote: »
    I'm confused.

    In the side-by-side example -- which looks to be the same product -- the old version has "Sugars 1g." The new one has 12g of sugars, 10g added sugars. Does this mean added sugars were not listed or counted beforehand? Or is this just a really bad example they've used?

    Bad example, from the looks of it. It looks like they just arbitrarily decided to jack up the numbers on the new version to illustrate the change.
  • Carlos_421
    Carlos_421 Posts: 5,132 Member
    There was a certain michelina's (sp) dinner I used to eat a lot that listed the servings per container as "about 1.5."
    That was pretty dumb.
  • Tacklewasher
    Tacklewasher Posts: 7,122 Member
    Huh.

    Changes in Canada as well.

    http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/changes-modifications-eng.php

    I notice we don't include Vitamin D on ours. I wonder why not considering we probably have a harder time hitting the requirements up here.
  • VintageFeline
    VintageFeline Posts: 6,771 Member
    Mycophilia wrote: »
    I don't get why American labels don't have a standardized amount like 100 grams instead of all these arbitrary serving sizes.

    But then again, you guys are one of 3 countries in the world who still uses the imperial system which is also pretty arbitrary lol.

    I don't understand it either, but I guess it's what they're used to so they manage it. Personally, I not only look at the nutrition per 100g but I also look at the shelf-sticker for the price per 100g, so that I can compare like-with-like.

    Mind you, when I lived in the US I never understood why the sticker price wasn't the price I had to pay - for some reason they leave it to the customer to figure out taxes and only tell them at the checkout!

    Pretty much all of this. When I go on holiday over there I'm not really paying attention as I just go with what I fancy and don't track but I do look out of curiosity sometimes. The whole cups as servings thing will never not annoy me.
  • crzycatlady1
    crzycatlady1 Posts: 1,930 Member
    Looks pretty good, though I thought I read on another thread that they were removing the cholesterol line, which is still on the new labeling? Looks like the biggest change will be the added sugars line-I don't track sugar intake by itself so it doesn't affect me, but this should help with all the posts from people who are trying to figure out added vs naturally occuring sugar intake.
  • CyberTone
    CyberTone Posts: 7,337 Member
    Looks pretty good, though I thought I read on another thread that they were removing the cholesterol line, which is still on the new labeling? Looks like the biggest change will be the added sugars line-I don't track sugar intake by itself so it doesn't affect me, but this should help with all the posts from people who are trying to figure out added vs naturally occuring sugar intake.

    I guess that assumes that MFP will modify the Food Database to add fields for Added Sugar and Vitamin D, I sure hope they do, plus maybe a few more fields while they are at it.

    Large manufacturers have until July 2018 to comply, and smaller ones until July 2019. With some canned and dry items, expiration dates are sometimes as long as a year from the packaging date. We will be dealing with the old labels in the US until at least 2020. Oh well.