What to know about the proposed FDA nutrition label changes

In an effort to improve accuracy as well as address the obesity epidemic in America, the Food and Drug Administration today proposed changes to the nutitional labels on grocery items. These changes are the first in 20 years, and will potentially have a big impact on the American diet. Here’s what you need to know:

Calories more prominently displayed

On the new label, the first thing your eye will go to will be the number of calories in a serving, making sure you know right away what you’re getting into. Clearly, the FDA wants to emphasize the importance of watching th amount of calories you consume. Serving sizes will also be more listed in larger font.

Added Sugars category added

In what’s seen as a major win for public health, a new category for “added sugars” was proposed. That means that sugars that were manufactured and not naturally occuring, like corn syrup and concentrated juice, as well as white and brown sugar, will now have to be listed in its own category. Natural sugar comes from fruits. Experts have argued that added sugars have greatly contributed to high levels of obesity.

Serving sizes bigger to more accurately reflect today’s eating habits

As time has passed, so have the way Americans eat — and how much they eat. Currently, a 20-ounce soda is considered to be 2.5 servings by the Federal Food and Drug Administration, but under the new proposals it will be listed as one serving. A pint of ice cream, like those from Ben & Jerry’s, Häagen-Dazs and others, will be considered two servings under the changes. Currently it is labeled as containing four servings.

Michelle Obama is involved

FLOTUS’ main agenda since enterting the White House has been her “Let’s Move‘” campaign, and not surprisingly Michelle Obama announced the changes alongside the FDA and praised the changes.

It’s not final — yet

The proposal will be open to public comment for 90 days, and it will be months before anything becomes final. The FDA is allowing food companies two years to put the changes into effect.