Kidney Diet Tips

New Nutrition Facts Label: Must Know Facts

It has been a really long time since the Nutrition Facts Label received an update. In fact, it has not changed since the launch in 1993! Large manufacturers will have until July of 2018 to update the Nutrition Facts labels for their products, with smaller manufacturers having an additional year to comply.

Key Changes

I have already seen the updated label on several products in the stores. I expect to see more new labels as we are less than a year away from the compliance date. Here are 4 key changes that will make it easier for you to make informed food choices.


This is a huge win for people with chronic kidney disease who are monitoring potassium intake. Now you will be able to see how many milligrams of potassium are in each serving of a product! Talk with you renal dietitian if you’re not sure how much you should be consuming.

Vitamin D, iron and calcium are also required on the new label.

Serving Size

Serving sizes have gotten larger, much larger since the label came out in 1993. By law, the serving size needs to reflect how much people typically eat at one time. For example, a serving size of soda, both 12 and 20 ounce can or bottle will equal 1 serving since people usually drink either size in one sitting. Remember, the serving size is not a recommendation, it allows us to make informed choices about what we eat and drink based on our needs and preferences. For a person restricting fluids, 4 – 6 ounces may be considered to be a serving.

Added Sugars

This is completely new to the label and is defined as sugars added during the processing of foods. New nutrition science has found that it is very difficult to meet nutrient needs and stay within your calorie limits if more than 10 percent of your total daily calories are from added sugar. Limiting added sugars could increase nutrient intake and decrease total calories per day, which may help you lose excess unwanted pounds!

Bigger and Bolder

You will be able to more easily pick out serving size and calories and they are bigger and bolder on the new label! Now when you’re in a hurry, these things will be easier to locate on the label.

More detailed information can be found on the FDA website if you’re interested.

Now wouldn’t it be great if phosphorus was required on the label? What are your thoughts on the new label?

Abby Tibodeau, RD, LD

Abby Tibodeau, RD, LD

Abby has been a renal dietitian for over five years and continues to learn new things every day. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and three children. Abby is currently working on her master's degree in dietetics.