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The FDA is Updating Nutrition Labels to Show Added Sugar

Photograph by Twenty20

Soon, nutrition labels on the boxes and packages of all the foods you buy from the grocery store are going to look a little different.

And, Michelle Obama says, “you’ll no longer need a microscope, a calculator or a degree in nutrition to figure out whether the food you are buying is actually good for your kids."

The first lady unveiled a huge update to the FDA’s nutrition facts labels that appear on food packaging Friday. Although this change has been in the works for awhile, the first lady has been instrumental in pushing it through to improve the transparency when it comes to figuring out what foods to feed your family.

And with childhood obesity rates on the rise, according to a recent study in the journal Obesity, there are currently 4.5 million children and adolescents in the U.S. who are now considered not only overweight and obese, but severely obese. Researchers continue to look for solutions to obesity as an epidemic, so the updated labels are a step in the right direction for parents who are trying to be more diligent about raising healthier kids.

It’s taken more than two years of working on the new label guidelines, says the FDA. But manufacturers will have until July 2018 to implement the new labels. Companies that have less than $10 million in food sales will have until 2019 to bring their labels up to compliance with the new guidelines, according to the Washington Post.

Obama said the new label will “make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices.”

RELATED: Dealing With Childhood Obesity

Here’s what’s different: The most noticeable and important updates to the label come in the larger type displaying the calories per serving, a breakdown with added sugar and more realistic serving sizes (which hadn’t been updated in 20 years since the FDA first began using these labels on all packaged foods). The way some of the numbers on the label are also going to be calculated differently, and will also include some information that consumers haven't had on a nutrition label before.

The new added sugars part of the label has been controversial, and some experts say that companies may need to adjust their products to be more health conscious. Added sugar on the new label is measured in grams as well as a percent daily value. If you're cutting the amount of sugar your kids are consuming, this is definitely going to be helpful information to know when deciding what snacks you'll buy at the store.

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