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New food labels aim to help you eat less sugar


Kurtis Garbutt

Not only does the US Food and Drug Administration want nutritional labels to contain the amount of added sugars in food, the agency is proposing that labels print the percentage of recommended daily intake, too.

Added sugars — ones that food manufacturers put in their products when they process them — shouldn't exceed 10 percent of calories consumed, according to the FDA. In a 2,000-calorie daily diet, the standard used for nutritional labels, that's 200 calories, tops — or about 50 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of sugar.

This is a suggested update to a label the FDA proposed last year, which would require manufacturers to list added sugars in addition to total sugar. The overhaul is the first in 20 years. Public comment on the proposal is open for 75 days; the agency will consider comments on both versions of the updated label before making a final ruling.

fda label update

The current label (left) and last year's proposed update (right).

The Sugar Association, of course, hates this; they say the proposed rule is based on "limited and weak scientific evidence." The World Health Organization is one of several health groups that have warned consumers about sugar consumption, saying too much sugar contributes to diseases such as diabetes.