Nutrition Facts Labels Might Be Changing! Here Are Three Surprising Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Them


Thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama, the Food and Drug Administration will be enforcing changes to the standard “Nutrition Facts” labels that we see (or pretend not to see) on our packaged food.

After a push from the Obama Administration, the FDA will require companies to place new nutrition labels on their food packages. The move aims to be nutritionally beneficial for consumers in the fight against the country’s obesity epidemic. Effective probably within the next several years, the labels will include amended serving sizes that are more true to the amounts people actually consume as well as bolder typed calories. There will also be an inclusion of added sugars to the labels and a “quick facts” category for fat, carbohydrates, sugars and proteins. Furthermore, potassium and vitamin D will be new additions and vitamin C and vitamin A will no longer be required.

Here’s an example of what the new labeling could look like:

Proposed nutrition label is on the right.
Proposed nutrition label is on the right. / Source: Food and Drug Administration

Sounds like a smart makeover to me. I applaud the government for making a proactive, substantive step towards tackling the nation’s obesity problem rather than addressing the issue through rhetoric. Here are some surprising facts you probably didn’t know about the current U.S. nutrition labels.

1. The FDA first mandated Nutritional Facts labeling in 1990.

What?? That’s insane that prior to 1990, aka when a good number of you reading this post were actually alive, nutrition labels didn’t exist. The federal law that was enacted in 1990 requires the FDA to require labeling as well as any nutritional content claims, such as ‘low fat’ or ‘high fiber’ on food products. Therefore people were blindly eating packaged foods prior to 1990. I guess ignorance is bliss?

2. The Daily Value percentages are based on 1968 standards.

So we’re adhering to the nutritional standards of an era where people smoked cigarettes in doctor’s offices and Jim Crow laws were just freshly outlawed.

3. 42% of adults read Nutritional Facts labels.

Based on a USDA study in 2009 and 2010, only 42% of working adults always or most of the time use the nutritional panel. Two years prior to that, the number was only 34%. This explains some things… Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog