Understanding the New Food Label
Many foods naturally contain sugars such as fruit, milk, and vegetables like sweet potatoes and beets. These foods come with small quantities of sugar and are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that do not affect blood sugars as drastically as free sugars. Added sugars often come with empty calories with little nutritional benefits.
The earlier version of the Nutrition Facts label combines both naturally occurring sugars with added sugars under “total sugars,” making it difficult for consumers to identity between the two. To make things clear, the Nutrition Fact label was changed adding a line for added sugars, similar to total fat and saturated fat. The revised label makes it easier for an individual to identify natural occurring sugars from added sugars and make comparisons in food products. The FDA has mandated compliance of the new food label from manufacturers by July 2018. In addition to added sugars, the food label includes the daily value for both vitamin D, important for bone health, and potassium, good for controlling blood pressure.10 The bold font makes the label easier to read while highlighting the calories and serving sizes. In addition to the “added sugars” calculation, consumers will also want to be aware of the daily value of total carbohydrates.