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Fit And Famous

Michelle Obama spearheads new nutrition label makeover in US

You already know how much we adore Michelle Obama and her mission to improve health and nutrition (and those arms,) and here’s another reason to make her your imaginary healthy lifestyle-promoting BFF

Michelle Obama is spearheading a new initiative to change FDA nutrition labels to better convey what we actually need to know. ‘Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family,’ she said.

Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian, White House photographer

Here’s a breakdown of the changes:

  • Serving sizes would be adjusted to reflect how much people actually eat. For some products, like yoghurt, serving sizes will be getting smaller, but for most products, the serving sizes will be bigger. Because who are we kidding–most of us don’t eat just a half a cup of ice cream, so we’re tricking ourselves into thinking the calories consumed are way lower than they actually are.Here’s a breakdown of the changes on the proposed new labels:
  • Added sugars will be included on the label, meaning natural food products will have to disclose how much sugar they’ve added in the manufacturing process.
  • Potassium and vitamin D will be required on nutrition labels, in addition to already required calcium and iron. Including vitamins A and C would be optional to food companies.
  • Calories from fat will be omitted from the labels, because research has shown that the type of fat is more important than the amount. However, total fat, saturates fat, and trans fat would continue to be required.

‘For 20 years consumers have come to rely on the iconic nutrition label to help them make healthier food choices,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “To remain relevant, the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label incorporates the latest in nutrition science.’

The FDA will have a 90-day comment period before the changes take effect, during which it will likely have to battle with food companies over the new label. Although the proposed changes wouldn’t effect the UK, changes in nutrition labels across the pond could spark movements to make these adjustments in British food labelings.

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