Jul 26 2015
The FDA Wants You to Know How Much Sugar You Are Adding to Your Diet
Earlier this year, the FDA introduced a new nutrition label planned to replace the current label in the near future, most likely 2018. The new label requires companies to list the amount of sugar that was added to a food product separately from naturally occurring sugars. We commended the FDA for this bold decision. Added sugar provide not nutritional benefits and serve as empty calories in many foods. Empowering shoppers to choose food with lower amounts of added sugars would help improve public health AND force food companies to cut back in order to make their products more appealing. The challenge with the FDA’s proposal was that there was no anchor for a person to know if the amount of added sugar was high or low. Quick, are 35 grams of added sugar too much or OK? To rectify this issue, the FDA took a bold step last week. Not only will added sugars be listed in grams, they will also be listed as a percent of the Daily Value (DV). The FDA decided to set the daily value for added sugars at 10% of total calories. Let’s do some math: 10% means that in a 2000 calorie diet, 200 calories are allotted to added sugars. 200 calories are 50 grams of sugar. 50 grams are approximately 12 teaspoons of added sugars. This means that drinking just one can of cola a day, with 39 grams of added sugars, will put you at 78% of the Daily Value for added sugars (see the label mockup in the picture). By the way, the FDA has not defined a daily value for total sugars. The food and beverage industry isn’t happy with the FDA’s new decision, so expect a prolonged fight. As mentioned earlier, we’re still a few years away from the new label on products.