- Improved nutrition information on food and drink labels will be due out from most manufacturers beginning in mid-2018, the FDA announced Friday.
- The FDA's goal is to modernize food labels to keep up with current trends in eating habits that have gone hand in hand with rising rates of obesity and diabetes, as well as with scientific research that has shed further light on the matter since food labels became standard in 1993, Bloomberg reported.
- The updates include information listings for more realistic serving sizes, and listings that separate natural and added sugars.
Will improved food labels impact consumer behavior and thereby improve population health?
On the one hand, the American Medical Association applauds the effort. “We commend the FDA for modernizing the Label, particularly the inclusion of added sugars, which we believe will be extremely helpful in preventing the debilitating chronic medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, currently affecting millions of Americans,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack in a prepared statement.
However, some experts suggest improved labels may aid already food-conscious consumers but do little to impact those who need it most.
Some Johns Hopkins University researchers argue that making a real impact requires not just labels, but real-life, relatable information, such as how many minutes of running it will take to burn off soda.
Currently, about 79 million people in the U.S. are obese and about 29 million have diabetes, according to the CDC.