Added Sugar Labels Could Save $62 Billion In Health Care Costs

Sweet news for taxpayers.

Added Sugar Labels Could Save $62 Billion In Health Care Costs
Credit: iStock/scanrail

New FDA label requirements for added sugar in packaged food and drinks may save Americans $62 billion over the next 20 years, a new study suggests.

The study, conducted by researchers at Tufts University, found that as many as one million cases of heart disease and diabetes could be prevented with the new labels.

According to the researchers, the labels would lead to a sugar intake decrease of nearly 7 percent. That decline would lead companies to also reformulate products, impacting overall sugar consumption.

“Our study is the first to estimate the potential health and cost-saving benefits of the FDA’s added sugar labeling,” study coauthor Renata Micha, a research associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University said in a statement. “We found that, over the next 20 years, the impact of the FDA’s added sugar labeling to nudge consumer choices could save nearly 1 million cases of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, $31 billion in net healthcare costs, and $62 billion in societal costs.”

Those sugar reduction estimates came from “real world studies where the presence of a label on a product led to positive consumer responses,” Micha told Reuters. “As with any medical or public health intervention, our estimates represent average population effects; for any given individual there may be larger or smaller changes.”

Sugar consumption is also being tackled by soda taxes. Berkeley, Calif., the first U.S. city to enact a soda tax, says it has already seen a significant drop in sales of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks. It expects the trend to continue. 

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