The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

New food labels can make healthy choices clearer

By Dylan Bradley/ne news editor

The day a candy bar has all of the calories listed for the entire bar will be the best day – and the worst day.

Proposed changes to U.S. food labels could give consumers better information at a glance to make smarter decisions. This is a good change, regardless of the need for change created by high levels of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The best changes proposed are the simpler labeling of fat content, distinguishing naturally occurring sugars from added sugars and serving-size requirements that reflect what a person would actually eat in one sitting. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a consumer update in February that outlines the proposed changes to food labels.

Distinguishing the two broad categories of sugar that foods contain, natural and added, is a huge step in the right direction. Not every person understands or questions which sugars occur naturally and which sugars have been added. The change will help companies that preserve the natural qualities of their product stand out and give consumers wishing to avoid added sugars a broader selection.

Another proposed change is removal of the percentage of calories from fat, to draw the consumer’s attention to the different types of fat in a product. This will narrow consumer focus to the types of fat a product has instead of looking at a single number to make a decision.

The changes proposed for the presentation of serving size has its own consumer update on fda.gov. The wording on packages would change from “Amount per Serving” to a quantifiable amount, such as “Amount per 2/3 Cup.” The changes would also see products previously labeled as two or three servings cut down to one or two servings.

A dual-column format has been introduced that would list the per-serving nutrition information side-by-side with the per-container information.

Other changes include making the calories bigger and bolder and requiring the inclusion of vitamin D and potassium. Apparently, when these two vitamins become required listings, vitamins A and C will no longer be necessary. It never feels good to be tossed aside, but A and C need to get out of the way. Better things are coming.

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