2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Report Suggests 'Informative Labels'

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are updating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and are recommending front-of-package food labels on all food and beverage products to give clear guidance about a food’s healthfulness.

In the recently released "Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee", the committee stated that food labels should be used to effectively promote awareness of sodium content in foods.

"Consumers would benefit from a standardized, easily understood front-of-package (FOP) label on all food and beverage products to give clear guidance about a food’s healthfulness," the committee said.  It offered an example of the FOP label recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which included calories, and zero to three “nutritional” points for added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium.

"This would be integrated with the Nutrition Facts Panel, allowing consumers to quickly and easily identify nutrients of concern for over-consumption, in order to make healthier choices,"the committee said. (Read more about proposed labeling legislation; as announced by the FDA, the Nutrition Facts Label is undergoing a proposed makeover). 

Among other comments, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommended reducing daily intakes of sodium and replacing soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages (including sports drinks) with non-fat fluid milk, which it said would "substantially reduce added sugars and empty calories and increase the intake of shortfall nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium." 

The HHS and USDA will host a public meeting in Bethesda, Maryland on March 24, 2015 to receive public oral comments on the "Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee." The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, first released in 1980, is reviewed, updated, and published every five years. Those interested in providing oral comments and/or attending in person can register on or about March 9, 2015. The public can also view a live webcast of the meeting on www.dietaryguidelines.gov.

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