Time to celebrate! The much needed make-over that our nutrition labels so desperately needed has finally arrived! Thanks to the persistent effort of First Lady Michelle Obama, the new Nutrition Facts labels — which have gone unchanged for over two decades — will take effect in two years. The most striking change is that food companies will have to list how much sugar they add to their products and suggest a limit for the amount of added sugar people should consume.
What’s that, you say? Sugar is delicious and makes your mouth happy? Well, too bad! Sugar is a big time problem in this country, and it’s about time people start taking this sh*t seriously. The new Nutrition Labels will remind Americans exactly how much added sugar they’re consuming every time they pick up a package. It is intended to help families make healthy choices, just like these labels. Say what you will about Michelle Obama’s “Just Move” campaign, but this new Nutrition Labeling rule will have an enormous impact. Which of course has some people, namely those invested in sugar like the Sugar Association, (Yup, that’s a thing!) up in arms.
According to the Sugar Association, this new rule will set an alarming precedent for future labeling regulations, and they argue that the FDA has no scientific justification for mandating added sugars labeling. They like to point out that science shows added and naturally occurring sugars are processed in the same way and there’s no reason to call added sugars out. Which is all fine and good, but it’s still reasonable to want to know how many sugars were added after the fact.
Opponents of the rule also argue that the new labels will confuse consumers and hint at the possibility of litigation. Seriously? You’re giving consumers so little credit you don’t think they’ll be able to understand the phrase “added sugars”?
Additional changes we can expect to see in about two years’ time include calories in a bolder, larger font, and adjustments to serving size that actually reflect the amount people consume. For example, a pint of ice cream will go from four to three servings so that the fat, sugar, and calorie content might appear more shocking. There will also be changes to vitamin labeling. Again, added sugars and a new percent Daily Value for added sugars will also be added to Nutrition Labels.