New FDA Labels Will Highlight Calories, Serving Sizes

Recalculating how and what is shown on food labels could change how you eat.

You know that sinking feeling you get when you walk into a chain restaurant—the kind that has to post the calorie count of its menu items—and you’re confronted with the number of calories you’re actually eating? If the new nutrition labels proposed by the FDA go through, you’ll have that feeling more often—every time you look at a food label.

That’s because the FDA is demanding that manufacturers be more upfront with you about how much you’re actually eating. For starters, the calorie count will be displayed larger, so you can’t turn a blind eye to how bad your junk food is. And, with new regulations about serving size, no longer will you be able to sneak around, pretending that you’re only drinking 8 ounces of that 20-ounce soda.

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The serving size for a pint of ice cream, for example, will shrink from four to two. That means that for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk, a serving will contain 620 calories instead of the reasonable-sounding 310 listed under the current system. It’s not that the ice cream is getting worse for you—it’s that the labels are finally being honest about how much of that pint you eat in one sitting, usually spooning it straight out of the carton while standing in front of the open door of the fridge. 

View the FDA’s proposed changes below

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