Sweet News: Proposed Nutrition Labels Make it Easier to Know What You’re Eating

Written by admin, June 29, 2015

June 29, 2015 –  Changes to Food Product Labels Make Nutrition and Sugar Information Clearer

New nutrition facts tables are coming to food packages, which aim to make it easier for Canadians to make more informed choices for themselves and their families.  Earlier this month, the federal Minister of Health unveiled the newest set of proposed changes to food labels.  Planned improvements include:

  • Updated nutrient recommendations,
  • Consistent serving sizes for similar foods,
  • An easier to read ingredient list that groups together added sugars,
  • A consistent placement of allergy information, and
  • Listed amounts of vitamins and minerals (rather than only the % Daily Value).

For the first time, there will be a % Daily Value for sugar, based on 100g of total sugar a day. The % DV value for sugars will help Canadians determine whether a food has a little or a lot of sugars. These labelling changes are a positive but incomplete step towards the World Health Organization’s recommendations that individuals limit their intake of “free sugars” to “less than 10% of calories” (50 grams of free sugars based on a 2000 calorie diet) and as low as 5% of calories (25 grams) to enjoy additional health benefits. This total includes naturally occurring sugars found in whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds, nuts and milk products, as well as those added to food. Also in the list of ingredients, sugars will be grouped. This will further help consumers see how much added sugars are included as compared to other ingredients.

“The amounts of naturally occurring sugars are not the concern in our diet,” says Luisa Magalhaes, Registered Dietitian at Peterborough Public Health. “Rather, it’s the sugars added to our food to make them sweeter that we need to watch out for. These include glucose, fructose, table sugar, honey, syrups, and fruit juices, and many more. To reduce your sugar intake, follow Canada’s Food Guide, and limit sugar sweetened beverages such as pop, fruit drinks and cocktails, energy drinks and sports drinks. These give us calories, and not much else.  Quench your thirst with water.”

The rule that tells us how to use percent daily value, “5% Daily Value is a little, 15% is a lot” will now appear at the bottom of the table.  We should aim for “a lot” of nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals, and “a little” of fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar.

Health Canada is inviting Canadians to share their thoughts on the proposed label, via mail, fax or email until August 27, 2015.  Visit www.hc-sc.gc.ca to learn more.

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For further information, please contact:
Luisa Magalhaes, MHSc, RD
Public Health Nutritionist
705-743-1000, ext. 233

Sample Nutrition Label:

 

 

Screen Shot 06-29-15 at 09.31 AMMore graphics are available from:

http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/health-system-systeme-sante/consultations/food-label-etiquette-des-aliments/process-processus-eng.php?_ga=1.214551455.964677668.1434380208#s3