The Nutrition Facts Panel is a section of a food label that shows the serving size, calories, key nutrients and percent daily value in one specifically measured amount of food.

In May 2016, the FDA implemented changes to the Nutrition Facts label which go into effect in July 2018. The following components of the label will be reformatted to be easier for the consumer to understand:

Nutrients: These are quality substances found in a food, such as vitamins, minerals and fiber, which nourish the body. Nutrients such as potassium and vitamin D will now appear on the label and the actual amounts versus only the percentage will be listed as well. Potassium and vitamin D now appear on the label due to the fact the FDA deemed their intake too low in people’s daily diets.

Serving Size: The term that indicates a fixed amount of food, such as one cup or one ounce, shown on the Nutrition Facts label. The amounts of nutrients listed on the label are based on this portion size, which is now adjusted to be more realistic in terms of how much people typically consume at one time.

Calories: Calories are the measure of the energy used by the body and the energy food supplies to the body. This number will now appear in larger and bolder type in order to be more visible to the consumer. Additionally, calories from fat has been removed from the nutrition facts label.

Sugars: Sugars are now listed as total sugars and added sugars. Added sugars are sugars that do not occur naturally, thus are added to the product during processing.

Daily Value (DV): A number of nutrients will have their daily values adjusted. The FDA has increased the recommended daily intake of total fat, potassium and dietary fiber and has decreased the recommended intake of sodium, total carbohydrate and thiamine, to name a few.

Percent Daily Value (%DV): The explanation of percent daily value will be more concise which will make it easier to compare the amounts of nutrients in a food to the amount of nutrients needed each day.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at carey.stites@smchh.org.

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