Required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on most packaged foods and beverages, nutritional labels provide information about macronutrients (such as fat, protein and carbohydrates, which are the calorie-containing nutrients), and micronutrients (which, according to internal medicine physician Jeffrey Fein, D.O., are “everything else”).
The FDA confirmed a nutritional label makeover for 2020 to better “reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.” All large food and beverage manufacturers are now required to make several changes, with the most noticeable being:
1. A bigger, bolder calorie count. Calories will now be listed in a much more prominent and noticeable way directly underneath the serving sizes.
2. Removal of calories from fat. The FDA has proposed that the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount, causing them to remove this fact entirely. However, Dr. Fein rebuts, “In general, we want to consume more of our calories from carbohydrates and protein, and stick to a lower-fat diet, so I don’t completely agree with this move by the FDA.”
3. Introduction of dual column serving sizes. According to the FDA, serving sizes will better reflect how Americans eat today, as determined by research. Instead of showing the calorie count for, say, ¼ of a pint of ice cream, the whole product’s serving size will be listed. “This is important so manufacturers can’t skew the numbers to make a given food appear healthier or less calorie-dense than it actually is,” Dr. Fein says. “By sticking to realistic serving sizes, we can know just how unhealthy some of these foods actually are—especially if eaten on a regular basis!”
4. New line for added sugars. The amount of sugar that has been added during the processing of foods will be separated from the food’s natural sugars and visibly listed. “Avoiding foods with high amounts of added sugar is far more important that looking at the total sugar or carbohydrates on a given label,” recommends Dr. Fein.
5. New daily values. While the old label highlighted certain vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A and C, the FDA is now shifting the focus to different nutrients that Americans may not be getting enough of, simplifies Dr. Fein. “So we now will see Vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium instead of Vitamin A and C,” he explains.
“One of the most important things to remember, though, is that some of the healthiest foods cannot be found in a box and don’t have any labels—they’re found in the produce aisle!” says Sorah Miller, RDN, a dietician at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “When we switch to more whole foods and decrease consumption of highly processed foods, the health benefits can be tremendous.”
The Paterson Division of Health has issued a notice for all individuals who attended a funeral on Thursday, March 12, 2020, at the Ulu Cami Mosque located at 408 Knickerbocker Avenue, Paterson.
Persons who were in attendance should contact their local health department as they may have been exposed to a case of SARS-CoV-2.
Attendees who live in the cities of Paterson, Totowa, North Haledon, Prospect Park, or Totowa should contact the City of Paterson Division of Health at (973) 321-1277 to leave a message with their name and phone number, and a Paterson Strike Team member will be in touch with them.