Federal officials want to give Americans more information about the amount of sugar added to their food, and what those amounts mean.
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has revised its proposal for nutritional labels to not only include the amount of added sugars in grams (something the FDA recommended in 2014), but also to list the percent Daily Value (% DV) of those added sugars, in the same way that other items are currently listed.
The intent of the change is to not only show buyers how much sugar is in their food, but to indicate how that amount compares to the recommended daily limit on sugar consumption. Officials recommend that people not consume more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugar.
“Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie requirements if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar,” writes Susan Mayne, the FDA’s director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in a blog post about the proposed change. “FDA’s initial proposal to include the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label is now further supported by newly reviewed studies suggesting healthy dietary patterns, including lower amounts of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, are strongly associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.”
The FDA recommends that adults and children age 4 and older not consume more than 50 grams of added sugars per day. For kids ages 1 through 3, the recommended limit is 25 grams of sugar.
For context, the FDA provides the example of a consumer drinking a 20-oz. sugary beverage. That contains about 66 grams of added sugar, according to the FDA, which would be listed on the label as 132% of the Daily Value.
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