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Choline Joins the Nutrition Facts Label
The Food and Drug Administration recognizes choline’s health benefits,
includes choline among voluntary nutrients for packaging labels
New Hampton, N.Y.
(May 24, 2016) – A beneficial but lesser-known nutrient is making its way onto Nutrition Facts labels: choline, an essential nutrient associated with heart health, improved liver function, maternal and fetal health, child development, cognition and sports performance. In the first update to the Nutrition Facts label in 20 years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for manufacturers to voluntarily label choline,
paving the way to help Americans look for and include this essential nutrient as part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
In addition, for the first time, the FDA established a reference daily intake (RDI) for choline of 550 milligrams (mg) per day, which was the adequate intake (AI) amount set in 1998 by the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division). Despite choline’s recognized and well-established benefits for health, almost 90 percent of Americans are not getting enough choline every day.
“Choline is perhaps one of the most underrated nutrients, yet a large body of evidence supports a range of benefits at all life stages, from maternal health and infant nutrition to healthy aging,” said Marie Caudill, PhD, RD and professor in nutritional sciences at Cornell University. “By using the Nutrition Facts label to check choline amounts in foods, Americans will soon be able to look for this essential nutrient and better meet their daily goals.”
Food sources of choline include eggs, beef, chicken, fish, certain seafood, toasted wheat germ, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Some multivitamins and prenatal vitamins contain choline, and certain packaged foods, such as infant formula, may be fortified with choline to boost intake. Foods with at least 55 mg of choline per serving are considered a “good source” of the nutrient.
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Wallace TC and Fulgoni VL. Assessment of Total Choline Intakes in the United States
. Journal of the American College of Nutrition
, 2016; 35 (2): 108.