It is something you may have heard me talk about; changes to the nutrition facts table! Food labeling and the facts table are always a topic when I am seeing my clients; and for some – learning to navigate through these to make the best choice can be time consuming and overwhelming, especially when you’re short on time or are shopping with little ones.
On June 12th the proposed changes to food labels were announced. These changes include grouping sugars in the ingredient list, a %DV (percent daily value) for total sugar in the facts table as well as standard serving sizes. The %DV will also be updated to reflect most recent nutrient recommendations.
Want to know more? Continue reading…
In regards to sugar:
“Sugar” will continue to be listed on the facts table; this is the total amount of sugar. This will now have its own %DV specifically for sugar.
The %DV that Health Canada has set for sugar is 100g, this is not intended as a target for consumers; it is to help make comparisons of different foods. It is also very important to keep in mind the grams of sugar listed are total sugar, NOT added sugar. Many foods contain natural sugar.
Using the Canada’s Food Guide for example:
3 servings of fruit = approx. 45g sugar
5 servings of vegetables = approx. 15g sugar
2 servings of unsweetened milk products = approx. 25g sugar
This equals 85g of naturally occurring sugar. Using the 100g standard set by Health Canada this leaves 15g left for added/free sugar. 15g of sugar is approximately 3.75 tsp.
How to make this easy?
→ Choose foods with less than 15% DV for sugar.
Let’s also talk about the ingredients list. There are MANY names for sugar: syrup, dextran, juice, glucose, fructose, maltose, and molasses – just to name a few. To make it easier to identify sources of sugar in a food, the ingredients list will now group added sugars together.
Not sure how to interpret the ingredients list?
The ingredients listed first are the majority of the ingredients, so there is “a lot” of that ingredient. The ingredients listed last mean there is the least amount of that particular ingredient.
Now, onto standard serving sizes:
When we are comparing foods using the nutrition facts table we always need to consider the serving size. For example, in comparing two kinds of yoghurt – one label might indicate a ½ cup serving, the other may indicate 1 cup. Therefore, when reading the facts table, for example – for protein content, we would have to multiply the first example ( ½ cup serving) by 2 to compare properly.
The changes being made to serving sizes will eliminate this step. There will now be reference amounts for mandatory serving sizes and this will make it easier to compare similar servings of food products.
Finally, nutrient recommendations:
The %DV will be updated for some items on the facts table. Additionally, the facts table will now list the actual amounts of vitamins and minerals (currently only the %DV is listed). This will allow consumers to choose foods higher, or lower in particular nutrients of different food items.
Both images sourced from: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/health-system-systeme-sante/consultations/food-label-etiquette-des-aliments/process-processus-eng.php
Still looking for more information? Join me on a Grocery Store Tour or book an appointment to discuss your questions and health concerns. Or, if you’re feeling motivated and want to learn more on your own, check out Health Canada for more information on food labels and facts tables by clicking HERE.