The FDA's New Nutrition Labels Might Actually Help You Eat Right

The FDA has proposed a new design for the Nutrition Facts labels that come on all the food we eat—and they're way, way better than before.

It's the first time in 20 years that the labels have received a refresh, and they're designed to align better with the way Americans eat today. The result is a label, on the right, that draws more attention to some key statistics.

The most obvious change is that calorie count is now impossible to miss, which is great for people keen to quickly gain a handle on the contents of a pack. Calorie count isn't the only metric to consider when buying food, sure, but it's a great yardstick by which to measure what you put into your face.

Elsewhere, the servings per container line is enlarged—to make people more aware of just what quantity that calorie count refers to—and an added sugars section added, due its role as one of the leading causes of obesity in the U.S.. The methodology behind serving sizes has also changed, so a 20 oz bottle of soda now counts as one serving, not 2.5—a healthy dose of realism, then. Finally, the daily value column has also been switched around, to make it more readable.

All in, that makes for a far clearer—and more useful—nutrition label. The hope is that the change would encourage food manufacturers to make their products more healthy. If that succeeds, it could, the FDA suggests, save $30 billion in health benefits long-term, and that compares pretty well with the $2 billion that the transition would cost to undertake.

Now, they just need to be approved by powers that be at the FDA. If that happens, it could make life at the shops far, far easier for all of us. [New York Times via Verge]