The Importance of the Nutrition Facts Food Label

Nutrition Facts

Because you really are what you eat.

As an RDN, it’s my job to educate – and lucky for you, I love doing that!

In order to understand what is going into our bodies, we have to be able to locate the information and then KNOW what to do with that information to apply it to our everyday lives.

Nutrition Facts Food Labels help you identify the key nutrients that you may want to limit or get more of. These labels are a huge player in the grocery shopping game. So it’s time to learn how to make them work to your advantage.

Did you know there is a history behind the Nutrition Fact Food Label? and a future? Keep reading!

A Small History Lesson

I’m super bad at history, so I’ll make this brief.

Did you know the Food Label history dates back to 1862? That is when President Lincoln launched the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Chemistry, the predecessor of the Food and Drug Administration. Then, fast forward 100 years to President Kennedy, who started the Consumer BIll of Rights after the FDA was started. Kennedy was on our side and realized that we have the right to know what is going into our bodies with the foods we eat.

Then in 1990, Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) is passed which requires all packaged foods to have the Nutrition Facts Food Label and is standardized. A few tweaks have been made since – like adding trans fats to the label (2003), certified organic logo (2002) and allergens listed in the ingredients (2004).

More exciting changes are being made to the label and are for your benefit!

Why Is This Label So Important?

I believe the number one benefit of the Nutrition Facts Food Label is to not only know exactly what you are eating but WHERE the calories are coming from. Did you know that protein calories contribute just as much as carbohydrate calories (4 calories for every gram)? Not only do you get an inside look at the foods you are eating, but you can compare when grocery shopping.

Trying to decide which snack is healthier for your little one? Turn them over and compare. Trying to increase your fiber intake? Take a look at the foods you usually eat and add up how much you are currently getting. Trying to decrease your saturated fat intake? It’s all on the label.

Check out this post on the different kinds of milk – it’s all on the label!

Not only is the label beneficial to us as consumers, but it’s also hopeful that manufacturers will continue to strive for healthier nutrition profiles on their products. It’s up to you to know what goes in your body. So be your own advocate and follow along with Raise A Little Kale as we dissect the Nutrition Facts Food Label.

So, What Is Next?

Next, I’ll break down the steps to reading a food label and hopefully take all of the confusion out of it. Then I’ll let you know about the changes to the label that are going to go into effect this summer (2018) and they are helpful to you.

Hop on the Nutrition Facts Food Label train and this fun, educational mini-series 🙂