For the first time in 20 years, the FDA is trying to make big changes to food label regulations. One of the bigger and more exciting changes is the addition of an added sugars row that will be placed beneath the sugars row. This will require companies to specify how much of the product’s sugars are natural from fruits, dairy, etc., or if they are added sugars like granulated sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or even honey.

Here’s an example of what the new food label would look like:

6a00d834520ed269e201a51181d803970c-800wi

Thanks to Karl Tate, who created the above infographic at LiveScience.

Other changes to the food label under this proposal include the following:

  • Bolding Calories, Number of Servings, and Added Sugars to make it easier to spot key nutrients.
  • Change number of serving sizes on certain products. For example, many soda serving sizes are listed as 2 or more servings per bottle. However, there are very few people who would only drink half the bottle. This would require the bottle to be one serving size with the corresponding calories, etc.
  • Take out the “calories from fat” label to emphasis that it is not the amount of fat that matters, but rather the type of fat. Professionals want to steer consumers away from trans and saturated fats and more towards the unsaturated fats.

Changes wouldn’t take effect for another two years. 

The FDA opened a 90-day comment period on March 3rd, 2014, during which experts and members of the public can provide input on the proposed rules. The FDA will then issue a final rule. Officials hope to complete this process within the year, and then give food companies two years to comply with the rule.

If you’d like to submit a comment to the FDA to help push these rules to pass, click HERE. 

This link will take you to the proposal’s homepage where you can read the entire proposal if you wish. Click on the blue button on the top right that says “comment now” to send the FDA your not of approval for the proposal.

(photo credit)

What are added sugars? 

According to the USDA, “Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk and fruits.” (source)

This includes the following:

  • anhydrous dextrose
  • brown sugar
  • confectioner’s powdered sugar
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • nectars (e.g., peach nectar, pear nectar)
  • pancake syrup
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose
  • sugar
  • white granulated sugar

These can be found in almost any processed product. Even products labelled “natural” and “organic” can contain these products. With the passage of this new proposal, it will be much easier for the consumer to know how much of a product’s sugars are natural or added.

The World Health Organization recommends that less than 5% of total calories be from added sugar, which works out to be about 6 teaspoons-or 25 grams- per day. 

How does this compare to foods?  

soda

A typical can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of added sugar, or about 40 grams. (photo source). Try some sparkling, homemade kombucha instead! Recipe here. 

ketchup

Just 1 Tablespoon of ketchup has 1 teaspoon of added sugar, and nobody only eats 1 Tablespoon of ketchup anyway (photo source). Make your own sugar-free ketchup, recipe here.

What are your thoughts on the food label changes?

I’m excited for the new changes to share the dangers of added sugars with the public. Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.

 

 

7 Responses to Added Sugars to be Added to Food Label

  1. Adrianne says:

    This is super exciting. I wonder how they intend to deal with added non-caloric sugars, like Splenda. Makes me wonder if more companies will move that way…sigh. Oh well, it’s a good start and exciting to see that enough people are concerned about health that the FDA is making changes!

  2. I think the changes are great. Knowing how much of the total sugars are from added sugars will be very helpful!

  3. Paul says:

    Thanks for the info. I guess there aren’t enough former sugar industry employees at the FDA, unlike the pharmaceutical industry. Great stuff. Keep it coming!

  4. Tanya says:

    Thanks for the info…interesting how they still won’t put a % by the sugars, so that we could know what percent (in weight of the serving weight) the amount of sugar is. For instance, knowing 1 tsp of sugar is 4g, say a product serving is 48g and contains 3tsp sugar (=12g) than a whopping 25% of the product is made up of sugars! yikes.

  5. Lesley Carol says:

    In the UK food labels show the nutrition values per 100g of a product as well as per serving size. Its easy to look at the 100g column to see what percentage of sugar or fat the product is overall. Scary to see sometimes. Cereal bars 40% sugar, pasta sauces 20 percent. Eek! It would be great to have the added sugars in there too.

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