blog header banner
Decoding the Updated Nutrition Facts Label

In the time that’s passed, many manufacturers have started implementing the changes, while others are still in the process. With the January 2020 compliance date for most manufacturers quickly approaching, the new version of the label is appearing on more food and beverage products every day. Examining what has changed and why, and understanding how to interpret and use the Nutrition Facts label, can help consumers make more informed decisions when purchasing and consuming food and beverage products.

How the Nutrition Facts Label Has Changed

While the old and new labels have a similar look and contain much of the same information, the new label is based on updated food consumption data, nutrient recommendations, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and consumer behavior trends.

Following are important changes to the label.

  • Calories and serving size are in a larger, bolder type.
  • Servings per container appears larger on the label.
  • Serving sizes have been updated to more accurately reflect what people typically eat or drink.
  • For some food products, you may see nutrition information per serving and per package on the label.
  • Calories from fat is not required because research shows that the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount.
  • Sugars is now listed as Total Sugars and includes naturally-occurring and added sugar.
  • Added sugars are required to be listed in grams and as a percent Daily Value (%DV).
  • The actual amount (in milligrams or micrograms) and %DV of Vitamin D and potassium are now required on the label.
  • The amount of calcium and iron is now required in addition to the %DV.
  • The DV for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber, and Vitamin D have been updated based on newer scientific evidence.
  • The footnote has changed to better explain the meaning of %DV.
  • Vitamins A and C are no longer required on the label.

Decoding Updated Nutrition Facts Label

Why the FDA Made These Changes

The current Nutrition Facts label has been used on packaged foods and beverages for more than 20 years. While it contains helpful information, new scientific information related to nutrition, public health, and the dietary recommendations indicated it was time for a makeover.

The updated label design and nutrition information is intended to help Americans make more informed food choices that contribute to a long-term healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of diet-related chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Where to Find Additional Resources

Need clarification on what constitutes added sugars or what types of non-digestible carbohydrates are considered a dietary fiber?  IFT can help. To assist you in understanding the changes and sharing information more broadly about the new nutrition label requirements, access IFT’s online toolkit for detailed information and links to related webcasts, as well as easy-to-share videos and social graphics.

FDA. 2019. “Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label.” https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/changes-nutrition-facts-label

Get More Brain Food

Read More Blog Posts

More Brain Food

Nutrient Density Key to Unlocking Healthy Dietary Patterns

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans asserts nutritional needs should be met with foods and beverages that are nutrient dense, but what does this mean and how does it translate to better overall health and a reduction in the risk of diet-related chronic diseases?

IFT's GFTC Submits Comments to FDA Regarding Proposed Traceability Rule

IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) recently submitted comments to the U.S. FDA on behalf of the science of food community regarding the Food Traceability Proposed Rule. Here's the highlights.

The 2021 Dirty Dozen List is Out, But Do You Understand the Science?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its annual “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” containing the notorious Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists. Just how risky are pesticide residues on the Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables? IFT Fellow Dr. Carl Winters sheds some light on this question.