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Jan 23rd 2024

New Nutrition Labels…Big Deal, or Big Hoopla Over Nothing?

After more than two decades, the FDA is proposing sweeping changes to nutrition labels.

First lady Michelle Obama—marking the fourth anniversary of her Let’s Move initiative to combat childhood obesity—joined the FDA in announcing the proposed changes from the White House.

The agency said the label changes are meant to account for modern eating habits and reflect new nutrition research that links diet to chronic diseases, like obesity.

Food label’s new look

Check out this food label infographic by Karl Tate for It shows how the new label would:

  • Display ‘calories’ (and ‘servings per container’) in larger, bolder font. Meant to quickly attract consumers’ attention, this change addresses the biggest factor driving obesity—excess calorie consumption.
  • Update ‘serving size’ to reflect what people actually consume in one sitting. For example, a single serving of ice cream would increase from half a cup to a full cup. Products like bottled soda—typically consumed in one sitting, whether 12-oz. or 20 oz.—would be considered one serving.
  • Change ‘daily values’ to list the percentage first. This one is purely aesthetic, making it easier for consumers to interpret.
  • Add a new callout for ‘added sugars’. Instead of just one line showing total sugar, you’ll see a second line showing how much of the total sugar is added sugar. This makes it easier for health-conscious consumers to choose products with less added sugar.
  • Eliminate ‘calories from fat’. Studies show type of fat is more important to health than amount of fat. So, the FDA advises consumers to choose products lower in saturated and trans fats…and we agree. Yet, this change seems to confirm our previous caution that the FDA lacks urgency in following through on their recently proposed ban of dangerous trans fats in all foods.
  • Display nutrient amounts in actual weight, rather than just percent daily value. Now, health-conscious consumers will know at a glance the exact amount of a given vitamin or mineral they can expect in a single serving.

Both the White House and FDA have made it clear they expect these changes to significantly reduce the obesity epidemic in America. But there’s reason for skepticism.

Studies show labels don’t change consumers’ food choices

Recent data shows Americans are still packing on the pounds, leading some experts to believe that new labels alone will do little to reign in obesity. For starters, the changes would need to be accompanied by a massive public health campaign explaining how to use the labels.

Also, Harvard psychologist and epidemiologist Christina A. Roberto warns that other changes—like easier access to healthy foods and less marketing of unhealthy foods—will be critical.

Plus, multiple studies conclude “labels to be a weak policy tool for changing consumer consumption behavior” because they “generally fail to get consumers’ attention.” In fact, greater than 6 out of 10 shoppers “never or sometimes” consult labels when buying food. Instead, they resort to ‘impulse buying’.

While some suggest making nutrition panels more user-friendly to be a step in the right direction, there’s an even better way to curb the American obesity epidemic? Just grab a copy of the book, Never Be Fat Again. In it, Raymond Francis reveals his revolutionary new approach to weight control that will prove infinitely more effective than counting calories…and possibly make the latest FDA food label changes irrelevant.

Want to weigh in on the FDA’s new proposed food labels? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below?





Information contained in NewsClips articles should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.