July 24, 2015

In March of 2014, the FDA proposed updating the current Nutrition Facts label to include added sugars—a much needed piece of missing information on food packaging. This morning, the FDA took it one step further and announced a proposal to add a Daily Value for Added Sugars on food labels – 10% of daily calories.

The proposal comes as a revision to not only include the amount of added sugars in grams, but to also list the percent Daily Value (%DV) on the label. The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet for healthy adults.

Here’s the breakdown:10% of a 2,000-calorie diet = 200 calories200 calories = 50 grams of sugar (4 calories per gram)50 grams of sugar = 12 teaspoons (about 1/4 cup)

Or better put: the amount of sugar in one 16-ounce soda.

The current 2015 USDA Dietary Guidelines Report and the World Health Organization both recommend limiting the amount of added sugars to no more than 10% of daily calories. The American Heart Association estimates that Americans are currently consuming nearly double that amount.

What would that look like on the label? Take a 20-ounce soda for example. In addition to listing 65g sugar under added sugars, the proposed rule would also require that 130% DV be listed as well.  Personally, seeing 65 grams of added sugar on a label would bring beads of sweat to my face. But I live, breathe, eat and sleep nutrition (I'm also a huge nerd, thank you very much). Most people have no idea what that number means, however. Adding the percent Daily Value will help put the number of grams into perspective — it's 130% of my daily allowance? In one drink? Yep, maybe I'll pass.

And while this may be adding one more piece of information to an already confusing label, if included, it could be one of the most important pieces. Added sugars are high in rapidly-digested carbohydrates. These types of foods cause a fast and furious spike in blood sugar - which will make you hungry more often–and can in turn lead to overeating. And overeating over time, as you may have guessed, will increase the risk of weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Round of applause to the FDA.  Now let's get moving and make it happen.

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