Earlier this week the FDA updated their guidelines of how the Nutrition Facts labels on packaged food should read. They were long overdue for a makeover and for this Jacksonville dentist, the changes are extremely exciting. We understand that whole body wellness starts with the mouth. Because dentistry is inextricably bound to total body wellness, these new guidelines are a welcome change for us.
So much of what comprises our oral health depends on what we feed our bodies. With the new guidelines for nutrition facts labels, Americans are able to better understand how nutritious the foods they consume are. Soon you’ll be seeing these new changes, and by July 2018 every packaged food will feature a cool new design:
- The typeface for Calories and Servings Per Container will be increased to make them more apparent to the viewer.
- Manufactures must now declare the percent Daily Value of Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium. They are also able to declare more vitamins and minerals if they want to.
- The explanation of “% Daily Value” is more clear.
- Added Sugars in grams will now be quantified as a percent daily value so consumers can see how much extra sugar resides in their food products.
- “Calories From Fat” will be removed because dietary science has found the kind of fat, trans or saturated, is what is more important for a healthy diet.
- The percent daily value for sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D are being updated to reflect new scientific findings for healthy intake levels.
- Serving size will now reflect on the average amount people eat instead of the amount they, “should eat.” For example a serving of ice cream will be changed from ½ cup to ⅔ cup because nobody can only eat a ½ cup of ice cream.
- And products that contain more than one serving based on these new guidelines, will have a dual column showing the nutrition facts for a single serving size alongside nutrition facts if you were to eat the entire container.
The hope for these updates is that Americans will have a clearer picture of the foods they consume. They will be able to make decisions based on the most current science and realistic habits of our culture. We are excited to see these new changes because they are creating a more healthy framework that takes in consideration whole body wellness, and as a result these changes will be better for all of our teeth.
The requirement to declare the percent daily value of Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium is very exciting news. Americans have found to be deficient in Vitamin D over the years. Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health and wellness. By paying more attention to the amount of vitamin D and calcium we eat we can protect our smiles from the inside.
Singling Out Sugar
Our favorite part about these new updates is the labeling of added sugar. Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Harmful bacteria in our mouth feeds on sugars, and if they are not removed, bacteria becomes acidic, turns to plaque and tartar which causes cavities and can eventually lead to periodontal disease. Daily brushing and flossing can remove these sugars and protect your smile, but most people don’t realize how much sugar they’re actually consuming. These new guidelines will change that.
It’s estimated that the average American ingests 22 teaspoons of sugar every day. Teenagers are estimated to consume 34. When the American Heart Association recommends we consume no more than 5 teaspoons, we know we have a problem. But, we’re not eating cake and cookies all day, so where does this sugar come from? The first, and most obvious culprit is soda. With a whopping 10 teaspoons per 12 oz. Getting to 22 teaspoons isn’t that difficult. However, the sugar that most of us consume is sugar we don’t even know is there. It is in pasta sauces, yogurts, crackers, soups, and even salad dressings. Food manufacturers add sugar to just about everything because it makes the food taste good. Now with these new guidelines declaring the amount of added sugar will enable Americans to make the best choices for themselves when it comes to consuming sugar.
We are very excited to see how these new nutrition facts labels will change the way our patients eat and take care of their teeth. We hope that seeing the sugar added to your salads will remind you to brush for those ever-important two minutes before you go to bed. If you have any other questions about how to prevent cavities and promote whole body wellness through oral health, give us a call at our Jacksonville dental office today.