Serving Sizes on Snacks Will Soon Be More Realistic

Thanks to makeover for food nutrition labels that's about to be implemented
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 20, 2016 10:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – Nutrition facts labels on food packages are getting a long-awaited makeover, with calories listed in bigger, bolder type and a new line for added sugars, the AP reports. And serving sizes will be updated to make them more realistic (a small bag of chips won't count as two or three servings, for example). First lady Michelle Obama is expected to announce final rules for the new labels in a speech Friday morning as part of her "Let's Move!" campaign to combat childhood obesity. The changes were first proposed by the FDA two years ago, and they're the first major update of the labels, now found on more than 800,000 products, since they were created in 1994. The overhaul comes as food science has changed in recent decades. While fat was the focus in the 1990s, there's now more concern about how many calories people eat.

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The calorie listing will now be much larger than the rest of the type on the label. Serving sizes will also stand out more, listed at the top of the graphic, and it will be easier to discern how many servings are in a container, part of the attempt to revise long-misleading serving sizes: The FDA says that by law, serving sizes must be based on actual consumption, not ideal consumption. Nutrition advocates have also long asked for the added-sugars line on the label because it's impossible for consumers to know how much sugar in an item is naturally occurring, like that in fruit and dairy products, and how much is added by the manufacturer. Other changes to the labels: They must now list levels of potassium and vitamin D, two nutrients Americans don't get enough of. The food industry has two years to comply. (Read more food labeling stories.)

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