The Food and Drug Administration recently proposed changes to help clarify the “Nutrition Facts” panel found on packaged foods and beverages—but there still will be plenty of confusion. Here’s what to keep in mind…
The catch: The new serving sizes still might not reflect the amount you actually eat. For example, the proposed rules would increase ice cream serving size from one-half cup to a full cup—but that’s still less than many people eat in a single sitting.
The catch: This figure is the maximum amount of sodium that’s considered healthy, not the recommended consumption level. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium consumption to less than 1,500 mg a day. If you have high blood pressure, kidney disease or certain other conditions, even that could be too much.
“Added sugars” will receive special attention. Food and beverage makers often add high-fructose corn syrup, cane juice or other sugars to the naturally occurring sugars in their products to make them even sweeter. Under the new rules, they would have to specify how many grams of sugar have been added.
The catch: Consumers might glance only at this “Added Sugars” figure and overlook the line that simply reads, “Sugars,” which includes both added and natural sugar. If they do, they might underestimate the total amount of sugar—which can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes.