The FDA is (practically) going keto: what you need to know about the new regulations

Major news for the United States: the FDA is going keto. Well, unofficially. The FDA is changing its nutrition labeling regulations by the start of 2020, and that's major news for keto dieters, sparking rumors that the diet is about to go mainstream. Here's a rundown of those new regulations, how they'll impact nutrition labels nationwide, and how they complement a low-carb lifestyle, making everyday dining easier.

What's On The New Nutrition Labels?

A lot is changing, and that's excellent news for health-conscious Americans. The new label regulations, which will become mandatory in 2020, include the following developments:

  1. The "Calories From Fat" Section is being removed. There's no evidence that this section provides any useful information.

  2. The FDA is enforcing portion size increases. Ice cream is one excellent example. While the current portion size is listed as 1⁄2 cup, it's going up to ​2/3 cup to accurately reflect the amount most diners consume. After all, who eats half of a cup of ice cream?

  3. Foods that can be eaten in one occasion, such as a bag of chips or a bottle of juice, will list the nutrition facts for the entire package. This will be considered one serving, as most consumers eat or drink the entire package at once. The serving size listed will be listed in larger type and bolder font than today's labels, displaying the accuracy of what you're eating loud and clear.

  4. A new section for "Added Sugars" will be placed on each label, with a DV% set at 50 g. This means that a large variety of foods will contain upwards of 50% sugar per serving, with some even crossing the 100% mark. This accurately represents the amount of sugar dieters consume in every bite or in every sip, and is aimed at helping buyers make better, healthier purchase decisions. The "Added Sugars" section will be listed directly beneath "Total Sugars," making these dietary no-no's easier to identify—and steer away from.

When Do Food Companies Have to Comply?

Proposed on September 29, 2017, the FDA extended the compliance dates for their new nutrition labels. Initially, the change was scheduled to occur in July of 2018, but the date has been moved to January 1, 2020, giving manufacturers more time to comply. Those with more than $10 million in annual food sales must implement the new labels by the 2020 date, while those with less than $10 million in sales will receive one extra year to produce changes—making the rule mandatory for food manufacturers of all sizes and types, including those of imported foods and beverages, by January 1, 2021 at the latest. Since the rule was initially proposed for this summer, some manufacturers are already starting to implement the new labels, so be on the lookout.

Why Are Labels Changing?

Today's labels are simply outdated. They're over 20 years old, which doesn't apply to current serving sizes or dietary intake, especially with the obesity epidemic in full swing. The FDA wants to see Americans achieve better health, and with accurate, up-to-date nutrition labels, it will be easier to make healthy decisions. The new labels will allow dieters to see the truth about what they actually eat, not what the label says they should. Since most people won't consume a serving size of 10 potato chips when given a full bag, having those facts printed directly on the bag aims to help the public achieve better nutrition. The changes are also based on updated scientific information, nutrition and public health research, dietary experts, and public input—all of which differ drastically from the facts available over 20 years ago.

Why Are Added Sugars Now Included?

As a low-carb dieter, you're already aware of the dangers of added sugar. Unfortunately, not everyone knows those same facts. The FDA is finally recognizing how bad those added sugars actually are, and they're letting every American know it. Scientific evidence underlying the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports reducing caloric intake from added sugars, and expert groups support this fact, including the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine, and even the World Health Organization—that's big news on bad sugar, and it's finally getting publicized. The Dietary Guidelines also reveal that it's hard to meet nutritional needs when more than 10% of calories stem from added sugars.

Unfortunately, the guidelines also reveal what many keto dieters already knowhow huge added sugar intake is among average Americans. Currently, the statistics stand at 13%, which means that the average dieter achieves 13% of daily caloric intake from added sugars alone. That's downright frightening, but with misleading information on today's nutritional labels, many people don't realize how significant their sugar intake actually is. After all, many sugars are hidden in juices, dressings, spreads, and even fast food. We've already revealed that some surprising beverages are the largest source of added sugar in the American diet, and having unhealthy information out there isn't helping. The new nutrition labels aim to make consumers more aware of added sugars in specific foods and beverages, as well as their individual consumption, making it easier for Americans to cut down and achieve a healthier diet overall.

Why is This Such Great News for Keto?

The evidence rings loud and clear, and low-carb dieters are rejoicing. When facts like realistic serving sizes and added sugars are clearly listed on the label, it makes it easier for every dieter to take action, leading to a realistic look at intake, and a happier, healthier lifestyle free of added carbs and sugars. The faster keto becomes mainstream, the more likely food companies will feel compelled to produce keto-friendly products. Let's all look forward to these new, realistic nutrition labels finally arising in 2020. It's about time!

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