Mention reading food labels and most people would rather talk about…. well…just about anything else. Food labels are a helpful tool that we love to hate. While some of the information is straight forward and easy to read; some requires a more intense thought process in order to obtain the info.

The FDA recently proposed a change to the labels which would give consumers information on added sugar in addition to fat, fiber, carbs, and sodium etc. On FDAVoice, Susan Mayne, Ph.D. posted Putting Added Sugars Into Context for Consumers.

Here are the cliff notes:

In 2014, it was proposed to include added sugar to the Nutrition Facts label in the form of grams but not Daily Value percentages. Now, the FDA is considering adding the Daily Value (% DV) for added sugars also.

So why is this important?

Well, according to the research (and our own personal experiences), people have a hard time meeting their nutritional needs if they consume more than 10% of their daily allowed calories from added sugar. By having the Daily Value (% DV) on the Nutritional Facts label, consumers will easily be able to see what percentage of added sugar is in a product. The Daily Value percentage shown on the labels would be:

  • Adults – 50 grams of added sugars
  • Children 4 years and older – 50 grams
  • Children 1 year through 3 years – 25 grams

The fact that consuming lower amounts of sugar-added foods and drinks can aid in decreasing your risk for cardiovascular disease, is one of the many reason that the FDA made the initial proposal to include “added sugar” to the labels in the first place.

Let’s face it. We have so much going on in our lives that we often don’t always have time to spend hours in the grocery store reading all the label in order to make healthy choices. However, it is important for your health and wellness to have a benchmark; a starting point that will let you know if you are consuming too much added sugar in a day.

In her blog post, Susan Mayne writes:

“A consumer who drinks a 20-ounce sugared beverage may be surprised to know it contains about 66 grams of added sugar, which would be listed on the label as 132 percent of the Daily Value.”

My guess is that this fact came as a surprise to you. Yes. Just one 20 ounce soda could put you well over your suggested daily added sugar intake. So, while reading labels may not be your favorite thing to do in the whole world, it is a necessary step in arming yourself with the information you need to stay healthy.

I will keep you posted on any new developments that I come across in my research. I encourage you to read the full article by Susan Mayne in order to get all the nitty gritty details.