It’s been in the works for some time, and is now set to become a reality by July 2018 — the Food and Drug Administration has announced that the redesigned Nutrition Facts labels on food and beverages sold in the U.S. must include a line for "added" sugars.
First Lady Michelle Obama made the announcement last week about the label change. Current labels show total sugars per serving, but under the new rule there will be an additional line showing the amount of added sugar.
“The amount of ‘added sugar’ will be expressed in grams and as a percentage of a ‘Daily Value’ — an amount of sugar consumption that nutritionists think would be reasonable as part of a daily 2,000-calorie diet,” reports NPR.
While an increasing number of research studies point to the health benefits in controlling and reducing sugar consumption—the FDA now recommends sugar make up no more than ten percent of total calories consumed per day—there is a difference between sugars that occur naturally in foods and those that do not, like those in a piece of dried fruit, for example, versus the high fructose syrup commonly added to soft drinks, sodas, and many processed foods.
“As one example, a 20-ounce bottle of Coke could show 65 grams of added sugar, representing 130 percent of a recommended daily intake,” NPR explains.
Foods and beverages high in added sugars have been linked to the nation’s increasing obesity epidemic as well as diet-related illnesses including type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
The goal of the new Nutrition Facts labels is to help consumers become more aware of just exactly how much sugar is in the products they’re buying and where exactly that sugar comes from—a move the grocery industry has called pointless, suggesting that whether sugars are added or naturally occurring doesn’t matter in the end. The Sugar Association said the FDA's decision sets a "dangerous precedent that is not grounded in science."
But the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents dozens of leading grocery brands, has given its support to the FDA’s decision, and encouraged the agency to parlay the new labels into an educational platform to help consumers make the healthiest decisions about sugar consumption.
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image via FDA