With added sugar drawing a lot of consumer attention these days, a new proposed nutrition label may help allay their concerns.
Last week, FDA proposed including the percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label of packaged foods to give consumers additional information for added sugars in the same way the values of nutrients like sodium and fat have been shared for decades. The proposed rule is a supplement to the March 2014 proposed rule on updates to the Nutrition Facts label, in which FDA proposed food companies should include added sugars on their labels. However, this rule did not include a statement of the percent daily value.
The percent daily value indicates how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet to help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families. According to FDA, the percent daily value for sugar would be based on the recommendation that the daily intake of calories from added sugars not exceed 10 percent of total calories.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) recently summarized scientific data related to added sugars. FDA says it considered the scientific evidence the committee used, “which showed that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie requirements if one exceeds 10 percent of total calories from added sugar, and has determined that this information supports this daily value for added sugars.”
The committee made significant changes in the guidelines, based on its finding that “the majority of the US population has low intakes of key food groups that are important sources of the shortfall nutrients, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and dairy.” However, in a statement, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said it had several concerns about the DGAC, in particular suggesting some of the conclusions were not based on the best available science, especially in the areas of sugars, sodium, lean/processed meats and caffeine.
“The FDA has a responsibility to give consumers the information they need to make informed dietary decisions for themselves and their families,” says Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “For the past decade, consumers have been advised to reduce their intake of added sugars, and the proposed percent daily value for added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label is intended to help consumers follow that advice.”
In addition to the committee’s recommendation, FDA says the proposed rule now has more support from new studies that show lower amounts of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages are strongly associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
The current Nutrition Facts label requires the percent daily value to be listed for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, calcium and iron. FDA is seeking public comment on the proposal for through Oct. 13. More information can be found here.