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FDA requires companies to show amount of added sugars in processed foods

Written by Diane Archer

For the first time since nutrition labels appeared on processed foods back in 1994, these labels will have a new look and improved nutrition information. Among other things, the Food and Drug Administration is requiring companies to show on the nutrition label the amount of added sugars in processed foods. In addition, the serving size listed on the package will be more in sync with the average amount people eat and the calorie information will be easier to see.

Until now, the FDA has allowed companies simply to list the total amount of sugar in a product, without distinguishing between natural sugars and added sugars. It also had not required companies to list the recommended daily percent of sugar intake.

The FDA’s new policy requires companies to list the “percent daily value” for sugars, so that people know the amount of sugar in a product in relation to how much they should be consuming. The FDA recommends no more than 10 percent of daily calorie intake come from added sugars, which is about 200 calories or 50 grams. Research shows increased risk of heart disease when added sugar represents more than 15 percent of your caloric intake. 

Companies must also state the percent daily value of vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium as well as the actual amount. You can learn more from John Oliver on the risks of eating too much sugar here.

Most companies must comply with the new requirements no later than July 2018.

Here’s the old label on the left and the new one on the right

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