ISSA SN Chapter 10: Guide to Food and Supplement Product Labeling

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Chapter Goals:

  • Describe and define the main terms for labeling food and supplements and their packaging. 
  • Know the many forms of our supplement products.
  • Have knowledge of the labeling for nutrition and the reference values that are relevant as of the year 2018.
  • Discuss the application of chrononutitionals.


The previous three chapters covered the things in our foods, and now we will discuss what those look like in our foods. Foods will have many different types. We have whole foods, processed foods, frozen foods, canned foods, and even aged foods. We also have a very diverse selection of the supplements we may intake. We can find all of these in many forms, from liquids to powders and capsules. 

Athletic significance of food and sports supplements

  • The food will be an athlete’s diet’s main caloric and macro intake.
  • You should make sure to choose the most wholesome food possible.
  • We should try to avoid intake of processed food when possible.  
  • We need to choose carbs that are complex and full of fiber. 
  • Protein sources that are low in fat are the better options.
  • Nutrient dense foods are better for you and more filling, and whole grains are the better gran type.
  • We should have several servings of veggies throughout each day. 
  • Athletes should make use of supplements for sports nutrition.
  • Sports supplements may give us superior nutrition over those without.

All Foods Are Not Created Equal

The nutrient content within our food items will not be the same and we will, in fact, see them vary greatly. This is based on the location and a year to year basis. It is one of the biggest flaws in nutrition science at the institutional level. With the help of the technology we have today, we can help ensure that foods are more consistent than ever before. 

Wholesome is a term used for foods that describe foods that will be healthy, fresh, and nutrient dense. This is growing in the food market as the foods to look for due to their healthier outlook. 

Even with healthier foods, you must pay attention to how much you eat. Some people assume you can just eat as much as you want when it is considered healthy, but that is not true. This is even more true with healthy fats.

We will look at many processed foods to determine where those fall in the diet and the whole nutrition of athletes.

Organic agriculture and farms do:

  • Preserve the natural resources and biodiversity.
  • Support their animals’ welfare and health more so than processed places.
  • Give the animals access to what would be considered their natural environment, leading to their natural behaviors. 
  • Use the approved materials for whole foods.
  • They do not use any GMO ingredients for their foods.
  • They receive inspections at their sites annually.
  • They separate their foods from organic and inorganic.

Understanding Food and Supplement Labels

Using the FDA regulation set in place, we will always find specific information labeled on the foods and the supplements we buy. 

Food and Supplement Labeling Basics

The FDA extensively puts regulations in place to cover the ingredients, the packaging, the manufacturing, testing, and everything else when it comes to the food being sold throughout the country. We will discuss the parts of these food products.

Principal Display Panel (PDP)

The front of the packaging is always going to contain three things:

The product brand name.

The statement of identity or the name of the food.

The net quantity of the product, or how much of the food is contained within.

Information Panel

Nutrition facts or the supplement facts

The list of the ingredients

The major allergens within

Name and address of the manufacturer, the packager, and the distributor

Revised Nutrition Facts

The FDA implemented some new changes in 2018 to the nutrition facts labels. It is designed to give the most helpful information to the consumers buying the products. This allows them to make their best decisions. 

Features a Refreshed Design

The iconic look is the same as before, but there have now been changes to the font size of the calories, servings per container, and serving size. This highlights the information for the consumer, so they know it is more important.

There are declarations now for the amount of and the percent daily value of vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium. They may also volunteer to give out any other vitamins and minerals they feel are most relevant. 

The daily value explanation is now changed slightly to give a better description.

Revised Information and Nutrition Science

The added sugars are now included in grams and percent value instead of sugars like it was before. 

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The nutrient list changes due to the requirements of adding vitamin D and Potassium. Vitamin A and vitamin C were removed from the labels but can still be voluntarily displayed if the company wants. 

The types of fat in the product are shown instead of the total fat. So, the type of fat is seen as more important than the amount you are getting in total. 

The sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D are revised due to the newer evidence.

Updates Serving Sizes and Labelling Requirements for Certain Package Sizes

Serving size is by law about the size people are actually eating, so this has increased on the nutrition facts labels due to the greater portion sizes we see now in the united states. 

Label Format: Original vs. Revised

The images in the book show the label differences, and the changed font sizes make up the largest difference.

Added sugars

These are seen as the sugars that are put in during the processing of foods and they are often in the form of syrups and honey or added fruits and juices.

Trans Fat

This is reduced but not eliminated from foods.

Super Foods: Dietary Supplements Are Born

Supplements are a major advancement made in nutrition, and more so for sports nutrition. Supplements are even more regulated than standard foods. They are intentionally made to be healthy. 

People usually relate the supplements more so to drugs than they do to food. This is somewhat due to the way they come. These are pills and powders. 

The first use of nutrients as supplements came from medical use. 

Revised Supplement Facts Label

There are fewer differences between the use of mcg and IU and the percent daily values. 

Dietary supplements are more controlled and consistent in their nutrient amounts. 

They have a much more strategic nutritional use compared to regular food. 

They have a long life on the shelf.

They have no calories or tiny controlled amounts due to their size.

They are highly bioavailable. 

Major Dietary Supplement Forms and Delivery Systems

The major forms of dietary supplements are tablets, soft gels, bars, liquids, herbal extracts, powders, capsules, and caplets. 

Major Categories of Sports Nutrition and Supplements

Half of the major health stores will be dedicated to the many sports nutrition and supplements products. There are sports nutrition products for all types of athletes. Shopping online is often a bit easier to sift through the many different forms of sports products. 

ISSA SN Chapter 10: Guide to Food and Supplement Product Labeling 4
ISSA SN Chapter 10: Guide to Food and Supplement Product Labeling 5
ISSA SN Chapter 10: Guide to Food and Supplement Product Labeling 6

Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read

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