FDA Proposes Including "Added Sugar" On Nutrition Labels

For the first time in more than two decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is unveiling new nutrition labels. The labels will put calorie counts in large type and include portion amounts that reflect the how much Americans eat now.

Federal health officials have said portion size changes are necessary to reflect the reality of the American diet. Now a 20-ounce bottle of soda will be considered one serving instead of 2.5 servings and ice cream serving sizes will increase from a half-cup to one cup, which more accurately reflect how much people really consume.

Another significant change will be a separate line for sugars that are manufactured and added to food, which public health experts say has contributed to America's obesity problem.

The federal government started requiring nutrition labels in the early 1990s and has not changed them significantly since. A line for trans fats, however, was added in 2006, which addressed a health issue that people were just beginning to understand at the time.

The changes in the nutrition labels are intended to make it easier for people to read and understand, and will include putting the calorie count in really big font to make sure people know that's very important.

Also, the inclusion of Vitamin A and B will become optional, while Vitamin D and potassium, which are important for bone health, blood pressure, and the immune system, will be added.

The new labels will be open to public input for 90 days. It will take several months after that before the changes will happen and then the FDA will give businesses another two years to actually alter their labels.

The FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael R. Taylor estimates it will cost about $2 billion for companies to implement the changes, but that it will save $30 billion eventually in health benefits.