Let's continue to deconstruct the updated Nutrition Facts label today as we take on calories, fat, and cholesterol. Just a quick reminder of what the old label looked like (on the left) and what the new label looks like (on the right).
Calories: The number of calories per serving will now appear in larger, bold type. Remember, this is calories in each serving--if you eat more (or less) than on serving, these numbers will change. The good news, as I mentioned in yesterday's blog, is that serving sizes are going to be updated to reflect more accurately what we actually eat.
Fat: The media has proclaimed that fat is back! Whether that is a good thing or not remains to be seen, but it does appear that we are less afraid of fat than ever before. Heart-healthy fats should still be the mainstay of our fat intake (sorry, bacon). Choose olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados, but be mindful that even the healthiest of fat choices still contain calories.
The old Nutrition Facts panel had printed "calories from fat," and as you can see in the new panel, that is gone. I'm not sure anyone paid that much attention to it anyway. Still, total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat will still be required on labels. (although I wonder if a future update of the label will remove trans fats as they have been officially banned in foods in the U.S.) Manufacturers will likely replace these trans fats with additional saturated fats, so the benefits may be somewhat negated. Some products may also list unsaturated fat grams, which can give you an idea of what amount of total fat is from a healthier source.
Did you know? U.S. labeling laws allow foods that contain less than 1/2 gram of saturated fat to be labeled as zero grams, so pay close attention to the serving size noted on the package. (Don't you wish you could round down in life like they can on a food label?)
Cholesterol: The new label still has a printed amount of dietary cholesterol, but it turns out that certain types of dietary fats (trans fats, in particular) are likely more detrimental to heart health than dietary cholesterol is. While our body produces cholesterol on its own, dietary cholesterol is primarily found in animal products (which coincidentally are often higher in fat).
Tune in next time as we take on the biggest change to the food label--added sugars!