Today the Food and Drug Administration announced it will be making major changes to the Nutrition Facts Label found on US packaged foods. The American Institute for Cancer Research applauds these changes, which will take place over the next three years. Here’s how the new information can help you lower your cancer risk.
1. Calories are big and bold. If you’re trying to lose weight or stay at a healthy weight, knowing how these foods fit into your diet is important. You can see at a glance whether these calories fit your needs and easily compare to other foods for the smartest choice.
2. Serving sizes are more realistic. You will be able to know more accurately how many calories you’re getting because servings sizes are more in line with typical portions Americans eat. For packages where people usually eat or drink it all in one sitting, such as a 20 ounce soda, the calories and other nutrients will refer to the entire package.
3. Added sugars are now on the label. This is important for cancer prevention, because now you’ll know how much sugar has been added to foods like yogurt, flavored milks and sweetened fruit drinks. AICR research shows that eating food and drinks high in sugar can lead to overweight and obesity, which is a cause of 11 different types of cancer. AICR, along with other health organizations, urged the FDA to make this change.
The new label will list vitamin D and potassium, for which many Americans struggle to meet the recommended daily amount. Vitamins A and C will no longer be required on the label.
As always, AICR recommends choosing minimally processed foods like vegetables, fruits and other plant foods as often as possible. When you do reach for a packaged food product, these changes will make it easier to make informed choices about what you eat.
For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending Americans limit how much added sugar we eat and drink every day, according to a New York Times article — a shift that could potentially help Americans reduce their cancer risk.
The FDA is recommending we limit our added sugars to no more than 10 percent of daily calories. For an adult on a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s about 50 grams a day, about the amount in one can of soda or some flavored coffee lattes.
The new guidelines will make their way onto foods’ Nutrition Labels, where shoppers will be able to distinguish between sugars added to the food and those that are natural to the food. Fruits and milk all contain natural sugars.
For cancer risk, arming shoppers with more information on added sugars is important because foods and drinks with too much sugar can lead to excess body fat. These added sugars are often lurking in foods that are seemingly healthy, such as fruit drinks and yogurts. Fruits come with nutrients and other compounds that play a role in reducing cancer risk.
Currently, about two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese in our country. Overweight and obesity is a cause of approximately 122,000 of the most common cancers each year.
For now, you can use The many names of added sugar, listed in the image above, to spot added sugars in the ingredient list.
If you want to know how much sugar food manufacturers are adding to your foods, today’s your last day to tell the FDA. That could make a difference to how much added sugars people consume, suggests a recent study, which found that Americans are getting far more of our added sugars from sugary beverages than desserts or candy combined. And, for the most part, we are purchasing those sugary products from stores.
The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also found that almost 15 percent of Americans’ daily calories comes from sugars added to our foods or drinks.
For cancer prevention, cutting down on sugary beverages is one of AICR’s 10 recommendations. Sugary sodas and other beverages link to weight gain, and being overweight links to increased risk of eight cancers.
In an average American’s day, sodas and energy sports drinks was the largest source of added sugars, making up 34 percent. Grain desserts, such as cookies and other baked goods, was the next largest category coming in at 13 percent; fruit drinks, candy and dairy desserts followed, at 8, 7 and 6 percent, respectively.