Maybe you’ve noticed recent changes to Nutrition Facts on food labels. If not, you may start seeing them soon. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an updated Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods that reflects new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The FDA requires major food manufacturers to update their labels with the new information and standards by January 1, 2020.1
The updated Nutrition Facts make it easier for you to choose foods that are right for you and your family—and to take steps to improve or maintain your health. Publix is here to help you navigate the changes, so you know what to look for on the new labels.
Sizing Up Serving Sizes
What’s new and why:
- Servings per Container and Serving Size now appear in larger, bolder type.
- Serving sizes are updated to better reflect what people actually eat and drink.2
- Smaller packages previously labeled as containing 1–2 servings are considered as single servings with Nutrition Facts reported for the entire container. For example, a 20-ounce drink is treated as a single serving, and ice cream servings are changing from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup.
- Packages containing 2–3 servings will show nutrition facts per serving and per container.
- Compare apples to apples. When measuring calories and nutrients in different foods, check the serving sizes to make an accurate comparison.
- Watch your portions. How do they compare to the serving size on the package? If you eat two times the serving size, then you need to double the calories, total fat, saturated fat, etc. listed on
Considering Fat: Quality vs. Quantity
- Based on research showing that the type of fat is more important than the amount, the Calories from Fat line will disappear.
- Total Fat and the subcategories Saturated Fat and Trans Fat are still required.
- Get more details on types of fat and managing your fat intake here.
New Addition: Added Sugars
What’s new and why:
- While the old label lists all sugars in a product, the new label lists both Total Sugars and Added Sugars (in grams), which are sugars that are not naturally occurring in a food or beverage. Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if you consume too many added sugars. This new category helps consumers track their intake of
- There is also a new percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars (based on a DV of 50 g). This reflects the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation of no more than 10% of total daily calories from added sugars.
- When shopping at Publix, use our green Better Choice shelf tags to help you select products lower in added sugars.
- As you read food labels, look for products that contain 5% or less DV for added sugars.
- Learn more about avoiding added sugars and how to rethink sugary drinks here.
Ins and Outs of Nutrients
What’s new and why:
- Updates to the list of nutrients on the label include:
- Vitamins A and C are no longer required, since deficiencies in these vitamins are rare today.
- Potassium and vitamin D are required because many Americans do not get enough of these nutrients, which may lead to an increased risk of chronic disease.3
- Calcium and iron are still required.
- Daily values for nutrients are also being updated based on new scientific evidence. The daily values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume or not to exceed, and are used to calculate the %DV.
Let’s explore potassium and vitamin D, why they’re essential nutrients, and how to get enough
Push for Potassium
What’s its function? Potassium helps muscles contract, regulates fluids and mineral balance, and assists in maintaining normal blood pressure.4
How much? The %DV has increased from 3500 mg to 4700 mg/day.
Where to find it? Potassium is found in many fruits and vegetables, such as beans, sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, raisins and dried apricots, cantaloupe, and bananas. 5
Discover Vitamin D
What’s its function? Vitamin D helps maintain strong bones by aiding in calcium absorption from foods and supplements.6
How much? The %DV for vitamin D is doubling from 400 IU to 800 IU, or 20 mcg.
Where to find it? Very few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Fortified foods, such as milk, provide most of the vitamin D in American diets. Salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish are among the best sources. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.
Try these tips for increasing your vitamin D intake:
Get milk! Most of the US milk supply is fortified with vitamin D—120 IU (3 mcg) per cup. Many plant-based milk beverages also contain it. Check out Publix soymilk (30% DV) and almondmilk (10% DV). Keep in mind that foods made from milk, such as cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified.
Start the day with vitamin D. Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, margarine, and yogurt.6
Be sure to visit our How to Read a Label page for more details on the Nutrition Facts label updates.
1 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). "Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label." U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). March 15, 2018.
2U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). "Food Serving Sizes Get A Reality Check." U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Accessed April 16, 2018.
3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey." National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). April 2, 2018.
4Wolfram, Taylor, MS, RDN, LDN, ed. "What Is Potassium?" EatRight.org. August 29, 2017.
5United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. "Nutrient List: Potassium." USDA Food Products Database. Accessed April 16, 2018.
6U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). "Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Consumers." National Institutes of Health (NIH): Office of Dietary Supplements. April 15, 2016.