You may have noticed some additions to the food labels on your favorite products at the grocery store since the beginning of the year. Here are some of the positive changes to the labels and how they can help you stay healthier and better informed.
Following is an article by Jenny Ryan, CHES, who is the Nutrition Education Coordinator at the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. The Food Bank will be sharing regular articles about nutrition and health education so we know what to look for when we head to the grocery store to score all those fabulous deals.
Changes To Food Label Guidelines
By: Jenny Ryan, CHES, Nutrition Education Coordinator, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina
New changes to the food label guidelines began rolling out on January 1, 2020 and it is an exciting time in the world of nutrition and public health education. Each of us is looking for something different on a food label depending on where we are in our own health journey.
With these new guidelines, each person will be able to locate what is most important to them more easily. Not only is the font bigger and easier to read, it is more direct about the type of nutrients that food item contains. The two changes that stick out the most to me are the addition of the “added sugars” line item and the double column on those foods easily consumed in one sitting.
Our foods have natural sugars in them which our bodies utilize for a variety of processes. Where we need to be additionally conscious is in the sugars that are added to foods. By being able to differentiate the difference between what is naturally occurring and what is added is exceptionally helpful in identifying foods that have the least amount of sugars added to them.
The double column printing eliminates the need to multiply number of servings a container when easily consumed in one sitting. This way when we are having an afternoon snack we can be more away of everything we are putting into our bodies. Not to say you will never need to do some multiplication, but it will help to decrease the number of labels you will need to crunch numbers on yourself.
For those looking at the food label for the first time or for those that have been reading food labels all their life, it will be easier to determine if and how much of a food they should consume based on personal goals and preferences. As a nutrition educator, I am excited to highlight the new label with clients in hopes that making healthy sustainable food choices are easier than they may have thought possible. Go food labels!
About the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina: The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a nonprofit organization that has provided food for people at risk of hunger in 34 counties in central and eastern North Carolina for 40 years. The Food Bank serves a network of more than 900 partner agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and programs for children and adults through warehouses in Durham, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, the Sandhills (Southern Pines), and Wilmington.
The Food Bank not only feeds those who are hungry; but also works to benefit community health. That’s why, in 2016, the Food Bank launched a Community Health & Engagement Department. With two nutritionists on staff, the Food Bank shares recipes, healthy tips, and other resources for partner agencies and neighbors in need. The on-site teaching kitchen in Raleigh offers cooking demonstrations and nutrition education to highlight easy, quick, and low-cost recipes using healthful foods like whole grains, fresh produce, low fat dairy, and lean meats.