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A first look at the FDA’s new nutrition label — and 10 reasons it’s different from the old one
In the Nutrition Facts table of the first milk carton image, illustrating the original situation, the serving size is listed as "Per 1 cup, open parenthesis, mL, close parenthesis. Indented on the next line is Sugars, forward slash, Sucres, followed by 22 and a lowercase g. Kids, teen, college student mental health problems on the rise A new WHO report adds to a wave of studies about teen mental health problems. Journal of Nutrition, 4 , The next line is Iron, forward slash, Fer followed by 0 and mg in lowercase. US Food and Drug Administration.

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Information on nutrient content of foods alone does not necessarily affect dietary behavior. Food choices are influenced by many factors, and consumers must be motivated to use the information for their health. Awareness of diet and health relationships is an important motivational factor for dietary behavior. Some studies have shown that people who are aware of diet-disease relationships use food labels to guide their food choices, and that food label use is associated with better dietary intake choices.

A survey in Washington State found that belief in the importance of a low-fat diet and knowledge of the association between diet and cancer strongly predicted food label use, and that food label use was significantly associated with lower fat intake Neuhouser, Kristal, and Patterson, Among individuals with one or more of these conditions, those who read food labels consumed more fiber and less sugar than those who did not read labels.

One objective of the NLEA was to encourage manufacturers to produce healthier food products. Considerable increases in the number and sales of fat-modified foods were documented within the year after the NLEA went into effect Levy and Derby, However, these products are not necessarily lower in calories than similar foods with higher fat content because the fat is often replaced with sugar.

Therefore, consumption of these products does not necessarily lead to lower overall energy intake. Impacts of nutrition labeling on health outcomes is more difficult to assess directly. Only one study to date has since estimated an impact of NLEA on obesity and health-associated cost savings Variyam and Cawley, The study examined data before and after NLEA from an annual national health survey, the National Health Interview Survey, which asks about food label use and body weight.

Body mass index BMI increased over the time period and label use remained steady. However, label users gained less BMI than nonusers, although the difference was only significant among non-Hispanic white females. It is unclear why the effect was only significant among that segment of the population.

Some estimates of impacts on obesity have also been made with regard to nutrition labeling of restaurant menus. Studies assessing the impact of nutrition labeling on obesity should be viewed with some caution. First, they are too few in number to make any definitive conclusions. Moreover, they are based on many assumptions often obtained from one study and extrapolated to a larger population. The optimal scientific study design would be a randomized trial where one group is exposed to nutrition labeling and a control group is not exposed, and both groups are followed over a long-term period to determine use of labeling, dietary intake, and body weight.

Therefore, other factors affecting food intake and obesity would be evenly distributed among the two groups and differences in the outcomes could be attributed to labeling. It is likely that individuals with specific characteristics use labels to guide their daily food consumption, and these could be identified and accounted for in further extrapolations to predict impacts on a national population level.

In reality, this type of study would not be feasible in a real world setting; therefore, observational studies of label users and nonusers in various populations that control for other factors related to label use and health outcomes should be considered. Menu labeling may result in reductions in fat and calorie content of menu items through recipe modification or reduction of portion sizes served. It is hard to imagine that a consumer would not be affected to some degree by knowledge that a selected entrée contains their entire recommended calorie intake for the day.

However, the effect of menu labeling on consumers remains to be seen. One could argue that the entire U. Likewise, if obesity starts to decrease after mandatory menu labeling goes into effect, this does not infer causality. There are many other factors influencing obesity and a wide variety of efforts are being undertaken to tackle the obesity problem.

Nevertheless, nutrition labeling of foods and menu items is important because the consumer has a right to know what they are purchasing and consuming. Some motivated consumers will use information on the label or menu to guide their food choices. At the population level, nutrition labeling is just one of many efforts that will be needed to combat the obesity epidemic.

Calorie posting in chain restaurants. NBER working paper National Bureau of Economic Research. Regulatory impact analysis of the final rules to amend the food labeling regulations.

Federal Register, 58, Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, Journal of the American Medical Association, 3 , Role of food prepared away from home in the American diet, versus Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior , 34 3 , Menu labeling as a potential strategy for combating the obesity epidemic: Javascript Disabled Detected You currently have javascript disabled. Monitoring Plans - What is the goal of your compressed air testing?

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