Our Nutritionist Guide to the New 2020 Food Label-and How You Can Use It to Eat Smarter
Some big changes are coming to the packaged foods Nutrition Facts Panel in 2020. And while admittedly not as exciting as other aspects of childhood (those oh-so magical first words!), the Nutrition Facts Label is a tool that helps parents translate baby’s bites into nutrients that support their journey to healthy growth and development. Here are 4 changes to watch for that will help you and your family eat smarter in 2020 and beyond. (Check out a full side by side comparison of the Current and New Label.)
New age-specific % DVs for infant and toddler foods: New in 2020, food labels on products aimed at infants (birth-12 months) and toddlers (ages 1-3) will feature % DVs that specifically reflect the latest nutrient guidelines for those age groups. This change will not only make it easier for parents to have confidence in how a particular food fits into their little one’s diet, it aims to reduce confusion for families with tiny tots.
Added sugars will be easier to spot: One of the biggest new features helps parents tackle the sticky business of sugar. “Sugars” will now be labeled “Total Sugars”, and “Added Sugars” is for the first time getting its own separate line (plus its own %DV). The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than 10% of calories from added sugars, but many toddlers get far more than that each day. Check out our nutritionist-created resource to understand the difference between naturally occurring and added sugars.
Outdated advice will be dropped: Say goodbye to the passé “calories from fat” declaration, as the science and health experts agree that the type of fat is more important to health than the total amount of fat (for example, omega-3 fats are a healthy, brain boosting fat for baby’s IQ and visual development). Also gone? Vitamins A and C, updated with Vitamin D and Potassium instead-these are seen in 2020 to be of greater public health significance, as Americans by and large get enough vitamin A and C, while falling short of D and Potassium.
Bolder font, bigger serving sizes: The FDA is required to base serving sizes on amounts people actually eat, so some commonly consumed foods are getting a larger, more realistic portion makeover. Ice cream, for instance, will expand from ½ cup to 2/3 cup, and soda from 8 oz. to 12 oz. And those sneaky-ish packages that contain 1-2 servings, but are typically all consumed at once? (such as that bag of chips or your favorite can of soup). They, too, will now be listed as 1 serving. Along with these upgrades, a bigger, bolder font for Serving Size and Calories is also slated. Together experts hope these upgrades better reflect the science, help reduce confusion and empower eaters to see how a food fits into their family.
Published: December 3, 2019
Last modified: December 3, 2019