Serving Up Some Change On Nutrition Labels

DICKSON CITY — For the first time in 20 years, the FDA is proposing changes to nutrition labels on the packaging of food you buy at the grocery store.

The idea is to have those labels reflect the real portions that Americans are eating.

So what do all of these proposed changes in labels and portion sizes really mean?

Serving sizes like the one listed on bottles of soda are often read, but rarely followed. We decided to try to make some sense of these serving sizes to show the big changes about to take place.

Nutrition facts and information are there in black and white for your reading pleasure.

Newswatch 16 stopped at Wegmans in Dickson City and divided a pint of ice cream into its current suggested serving size: a half cup. But the Food and Drug Administration is now saying it plans to change the suggested serving size to one cup.

Shopper Vivian Julian of Carbondale admits she’d go for option number two.

“Probably the bigger one, but I’m not supposed to,” Julian said.

It’s part of the overall makeover the FDA is rolling out for nutrition labels.

For example, 20 ounce bottles of soda will go from two and a half servings   to one, which the FDA calls more realistic.

“I would definitely just drink the whole bottle in one serving,” said Mari May of Dunmore.

May and her daughter Maggie also say they’d grab the bigger dish of ice cream and say these new labels could be helpful to people looking to eat healthier.

“I struggle all the time, and so I’m constantly looking at labels trying to make good choices and this will definitely help make things more practical,” May said.

Serving sizes won’t just change on cartons of ice cream and bottles of soda, the FDA plans to change serving sizes on 27 different items.  Some will increase, while others will decrease but that’s not something all consumers are ready to get on board with.

“I think if they’re going to say a serving size should be larger, it’s just going to encourage people to eat more,” said Bob Valiante of Moosic.

Valiante worked in the food industry and agrees that the current food labels are confusing but says increasing serving sizes won’t help him.

“If I’m taking in more calories, somewhere along the line I need to cut calories to have the right calories for my size.”

But for mom Shane Power of Tunkhannock, it’s another way to help her make healthier choices for her family.

“To me, I’m excited about it if it heads us in the direction of making our meals as healthy as possible for our kids.”

Some other foods that will see serving size changes include yogurt, muffins, and bagels.

But these nutrition labels won’t be changing right away. The FDA will give the food industry two years to comply once the new regulations are officially rolled out.

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