FDA Proposes Added Sugar Guide On Food Labels: Will It Help Americans Eat Better?

The Food and Drug Administration might finally be doing something about hidden sugar. On Friday, the FDA made a formal proposal which would force nutrition labels to state outright how much sugar is in a food item. Not only that, but labels would also have to inform Americans of the recommended amount of sugar to be consumed daily.

If the proposal comes to fruition, it could send shockwaves through the food and beverage industry. Believe it or not, hidden sugar isn’t merely a problem with obviously sweet foods. Some of the worst culprits are located nowhere near the candy aisle.

An industry that has spent decades dodging transparency has suffered the consequences as the FDA continuously updates food label information. With added sugar, these businesses must share exactly how much of (or much more than) the daily recommended amount is in each serving. As Americans become increasingly health conscious, the population has used improving nutritional label descriptions to avoid sugary foods.

Soda has taken an especially hard hit in recent years. According to reports, soda sales have declined over the last decade as Americans become more selective about liquid calories. The average bottle of 20-ounce Coca Cola contains 65 grams of added sugar, the maximum recommended intake of sugar is 10 percent of one’s daily calorie intake. That means one bottle of Coke represents 130 percent of the sugar that experts recommend you eat each day.

This food label change would hopefully allow customers to know about all the various sweeteners that companies use, ingredients that aren’t always easy to suss out. The FDA acknowledged Friday its “responsibility” to Americans in making it easier to know exactly what they’re eating.

“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.”

More than two-thirds of American adults are now believed to be overweight or morbidly obese. The over-consumption of sugar is considered one of the main culprits. NPR reported that eating too much sugar is thought to cause Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Changes to food labels can better protect against poor eating habits and allow Americans to make better choices about sugar consumption.

Will the FDA’s added sugar proposal help Americans be more sensible about what they eat? Should businesses be held responsible over “hidden sugars”? Please share your thoughts below!

[Image Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture/flickr]