Nutrition label changes aimed at helping consumers make healthier choices

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A new change to food labels could help consumers make healthier choices in the New Year.

Starting this week, new FDA rules will require nutritional labels to be more specific.

The new guidelines require two side-by-side columns: One with nutritional information for a single serving, and a second with information for eating the entire package.

“I notoriously read labels,” says Vladimir Polchaninoff of New Hyde Park, who likes the new emphasis on serving size. “A serving is a very variable. I mean, what's a serving of a potato chip? Three. Nobody's going to eat three. So, it makes a lot more sense to get a little bit more American, more realistic with what's actually in the can.”

"The new food label is designed to be more user friendly," says Plainview Hospital Chief Clinical Dietitian Nina Eng. She says the enlarged and emboldened calorie information on the new labels will help educate consumers.

“The new label is a stepping stone for contributing to a healthier lifestyle,” Eng says. “It's enabling the consumer to make better choices. They'll know what they're getting.”

Another change is manufacturers are now required to disclose added sugars on labels. For example, the label on a box of Life cereal shows it has 8 grams of added sugar per single serving.

“I have diabetes. I'm always worried about added sugars,” says Terry Wulforst of East Norwich, who adds that the new nutritional labels will help her steer clear of foods that are bad for her health. “That's a good thing because I always have to check the sugars and the carbs.”

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