Coming to a shelf near you: The new Nutrition Facts labels

Most food manufacturers have until July 2018 to implement the changes.

Published: August, 2016

Nutrition Facts labels on food packages made headlines when the FDA ordered a makeover for them in May of this year. But will the big to-do translate to big changes in the way you make food choices? "I'm hopeful it will," says Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "It will be great if the labels can get people to look at the numbers and think more about their health."

Grabbing your attention

The refreshed design gives calories and servings per container a starring role, in larger, bolder type. Serving sizes will also be highlighted, and changed to reflect the amounts of food people actually eat. "For example, instead of a soda serving being 8 ounces, it will be 12. Instead of an ice cream serving being half a cup, it will be 2/3 of a cup. When people see how many calories and sugar they're really eating, they may realize that it's too much, and hold back," says McManus.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »