US Nutrition Labeling: Added Sugar Key Change
The US Nutrition Facts label will soon be getting its !st update in 20 years, including for the 1st time how much added sugar is in a product.
The new information will be added onto labels from the beginning in Y 2018, and the change is being lauded by food experts who believe the change will bring 6 key take-home messages for US consumers, as follows:
1. Listing added sugar is the Key change.
Added sugar ranges from table sugar to high fructose corn syrup and more, and is found in hundreds of products including cereal, yogurt, pasta sauce, salad dressing, and sweetened drinks, the biggest source of added sugar for Americans, accounting for nearly 50% of their intake.
The change will see the amount of added sugar in a product listed both in grams and as a percentage of the daily recommended allowance.
2. Americans need to reduce sugar consumption
Consuming sugary beverages is a contributing factor to the rising levels of obesity and diabetes, with more than one in three US adults now obese and nearly 50% suffering from pre-diabetes or diabetes. Among US children, more than 1 in 6 is obese, with diabetes and pre-diabetes rates also rising.
3. Manufacturers are now expected to make changes to their products.
When the federal government required that manufacturers add trans fat information on the label 10 yrs ago, the move resulted in the food industry offering more products with lower trans fats. It is a great 1st step for reducing sugar consumption. In preparation for the new labels, manufacturers are working on creating products with lower levels of added sugars.
4. The new label could lead to regulations limiting sugar.
“Once you’ve got added sugar on the label along with a daily reference value, policymakers will be in the position to set standards for the quantity of added sugar allowed in school lunches and other federal food programs,” said a UC San Francisco professor of health policy.
Labeling changes like this have happened before she said, “In the UK, the government said salt consumption is way too high and mandated that packaged food manufacturers reduce the amount of sodium in their products. It worked like a charm, they just gradually reduced the excess salt in foods to everyone’s benefit.”
5. Other labeling changes
The new label will list more realistic serving sizes and will list calories in a larger and bolder font, helping consumers to see exactly how many calories they are consuming.
6. Further steps could help consumers.
Although the experts welcomed the new labeling laws they also added that further steps could still be taken to help consumers make more informed and healthier choices, such as adding the label onto the front of packaging to make it even easier to see, having food vendors add green, yellow and red “Stoplight” stickers, with green for the low-sugar products and red for the high-sugar ones, and promoting environmentally sustainable food practices such as consuming less meat and more plant-based foods.
Note: The average amount of added sugar in the American diet is more than 20 teaspoons per day, nearly all of which is added to our foods during processing. Since about 50 of this sugar comes in the form of beverages, consumers must rethink their beverage choices. Water should be the beverage of choice.
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