New Food Labels for 2014

 Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

Thanks to nutrition supporters such as First Lady Michelle Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, the food label is changing for the first time in 20 years.

Unveiled last Thursday at a White House event, the new label emphasizes sugar and calories. For runners like yourself, this allows you to make more informed decisions about what you put into your body.

The changes include the following:

– More prominently displayed calorie counts. Dummy labels released to the public show calories in bold and in larger font.

– More realistic serving sizes. Some product labels trick you into thinking there aren’t many calories in a serving; but if you look at actual serving size, it’s so small. For example, a serving labeled half a cup of ice cream would become one cup–the size most people would consume in one sitting.

–  Differentiation of sugar. Currently, product labels include the proportion of sugar but they do not differentiate between added sugar, such as corn syrup, and natural sugars.

– The addition of “per package” as well as “per serving”. If you aren’t good at math, this will help spell out calorie counts for you.

– The substitution of potassium and vitamin D on the labels for vitamins A and C. Research shows Americans can get the required amounts of vitamins A and C by following a standard diet, but they lack proper amounts of potassium and vitamin D.

The White House administration stated that the product relabeling could cost upward of $2 billion to implement, but over the next 20 years, the benefits will measure $20 to $30 billion with lower obesity rates, lower healthcare bills, and higher productivity as people will be healthier in general.

Recent reports state that obesity rates among the youth are down and continue dropping. Hopefully such product label changes will continue this path and help adults with obesity rates as well.