Americans are consuming nearly 150 pounds of sugar each year. They’re also eating 400 more calories a day than in 1970 and consuming 100 fewer eggs a year than in 1950. 

All these stats tell one important story: the western diet is wreaking havoc on a large part of the U.S.  population. This is why the FDA and the Obama Administration have decided to make the first change to nutrition labels in nearly 20 years.

“So there you stand alone in some aisle in a store, the clock ticking away at the precious little time remaining to complete your weekly grocery shopping, and all you could do was scratch your head, confused and bewildered and wonder, is there too much sugar in this product?” says Michelle Obama in her announcement on February 27.

With bigger text, better organization and easier to understand numbers, the new nutrition labels were created to make it easier for everyone to understand what’s hiding behind the cardboard boxes and frozen food packaging.

New Nutrition Label

While the base of any healthy eating lifestyle is focusing on eating whole foods, whole grains and minimally processed foods, some people find many items on the supermarket shelf to be a necessary convenience. Other foods, like organic sprouted bread and organic yogurt are healthy-diet staples when choosing wisely, but their labels can be confusing to decode.

As the healthy eating culture changes and evolves, and our lives become more fast-paced, the proposed modifications should make it easier to figure out what you’re putting in your body. Here’s what you need to know before these labels go into effect, the date of which is still undecided.

No More Calories from Fat

While most items on the nutrition label were simply revamped, the “Calories from Fat” section has been removed completely. Why? The type of fat matters more than the fact that it simply exists in the product. For example, fat from olive oil is healthy, while fat from soybean or hydrogenated oil is not. Details for trans, saturated and total fat will remain in place to guide your decision-making process.

Decode the label: Always avoid trans fats, which provide no health benefits at all and is linked to higher rates of heart disease, one of the deadliest diseases in America. Trans fats are formed when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil during food processing in order to make it solidify. But these completely unnatural man-made fats cause dysfunction and chaos in your body on a cellular level. Avoid them at all costs.

More Accurate Serving Sizes

Food Serving Size

Muffins have exploded in size in recent years, and how often is it that someone actually drinks just half a can of soda? The new serving sizes would provide better insight on calories and nutrients based on the way most people eat now. A serving of ice cream, for example, is currently listed as half a cup. Yet few people stop at half a cup. The new label will list the serving size as 1 cup.

Decode the label: Just because the serving size is the entire can of soda, doesn’t mean it’s healthy to drink the entire can, which can have up to 40 grams of sugar.

Easy to Read Information

Larger numbers, bolded font and more organized information make it easy for you to glance and go. For many people, grocery shopping is a necessary time-suck, and this will help you spend less time in the grocery store and more time at home cooking healthy meals for you and your family.

Calories are most prominent on the new label, taking up much of the header area. Serving sizes take up the second largest spot and percentage of daily value has been moved to the left side of the label, making it easier to associate the percentage with the correct nutritional value.

Decode the label:  Don’t let big numbers and bold font distract you from what’s important: the ingredients listed below and vitamin content at the bottom of the label.

Sugar Breakdown

One of the most talked about changes is the addition of a sugar breakdown. As it stands right now, sugar is listed as one number. “Many experts recommend consuming fewer calories from added sugar because they can decrease the intake of nutrient-rich foods while increasing calorie intake,” according to Now, you’ll see added sugars broken out into a separate number.

Decode the label: Nutritionists recommend that we should get only about 10 percent of our calorie intake from sugar. Consider how this correlates with serving size on each particular product to get a better idea of how healthy the product actually is.

Barton Publishing FOOD PLATE-FinalRegardless of how easy the new nutrition labels are to read, it’s important to always take charge of your own health. In this case, focus on buying whole foods that don’t come in a package. If you do need to buy packaged foods, however, always check the ingredients for yourself. There should be no more than 5 or 6 ingredients in the list, and remember that they’re listed in order from most used to least used.

To help you understand nutrition guidelines and serving sizes, as well as emphasize the importance of local and organic produce, high quality proteins, plant-based fats, whole grains, water and supplements, Barton Publishing has a Healthy Food Plate to represent how you should eat. Let this guide you in what you buy…and eat.

Don’t be fooled by the front of a package! Do you think people will turn it over and look at the new nutrition label despite claims of being a “health food?”

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these: