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On Topic: the Nutrition Facts Panel

On Topic: the Nutrition Facts Panel

What do you think of the proposed updates to the Nutrition Facts Panel?

This is a very timely change as people are more interested than ever in the relationship between food and health and what is actually in their food. Changes I am excited to see are the easy-to-read format, relevant serving sizes, and the highly anticipated addition of "added sugars" as well as potassium and vitamin D content. As expected with change, there will be a learning curve, making it important for registered dietitians, nutritionists and nutrition educators to be in the forefront of this upcoming change. We want to help lessen the confusion since the ultimate goal is to make the label less confusing and [more] user-friendly.

MARIA HAISLEY, RDN, CD, ACE-CPT, health and wellness advisor, Martin’s Super Markets

Overall, I think the changes are steps in the right direction. The proposed nutrition facts label will place greater emphasis on calories and serving size while calling out "added sugars" for the first time. I predict a flood of products featuring artificial sweeteners followed by a backlash from consumers seeking more natural and transparent ingredients.

KAREN BUCH, RD, LDN, director of lifestyle initiatives at Weis Markets

While I support each consumer’s right to define what healthy living means for them, at the federal level we have to focus on the highest priority public health issues. No one can argue that getting all consumers to a healthy weight has the greatest potential to positively impact healthcare costs, longevity and quality of life. For this reason, I’m glad to see the FDA’s focus on calories and serving size in the proposed label changes. Increasing the prominence of calorie and portion size and updating the reference amounts customarily consumed (RAAC) has the potential to help consumers understand the real nutritional value of the foods they purchase, and more effectively manage portion size and calories.

ANNETTE MAGGI, MS, RD, LD, executive director, Retail Dietitians Business Alliance

ShopRite’s in-store dietitians provide one-on-one counseling with our customers every day, helping them to read labels, to shop smarter and healthier for their families. Calling out the attributes and key categories that consumers are looking for and making it easier to find on the label will help them to make informed decisions about the products they buy.

—NATALIE MENZA, MS, RD, manager of health and wellness, Wakefern Food Corp.

As a supermarket dietitian, I teach customers about label reading on a daily basis. Unfortunately, most people do not feel comfortable analyzing the current nutrition facts panel. This is why I am looking forward to a new label. After 20 years of research, it is time for an update. There are plenty of positive features more focus on calories, more realistic serving sizes and an easier-to-read layout with percent daily values. Change is always a challenge, but that’s why I am happy to be in the aisles, helping customers sort through the nutrition information to make their lives easier, healthier and happier.

—KAITLYN ANDERSON, RD, LD, Hy-Vee dietitian, Rochester North Store

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