Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Rules: the FDA Gets Serious About Sugar

Last time, I posted the recipe for my mom's holiday punch

I've felt a little guilty about it. 

After all, we're trying not to have things like punch, right? Loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings and colors, it's a little out of keeping with that healthy lifestyle one works so hard to achieve. The thing is, though, it is a treat. Something for a special occasion or holiday, enjoyed maybe once or twice a year. Nobody would make a daily habit out of it. 

Or would they? 

We all consume far more sugar every day than humans ever have, and it's leading to the myriad health problems we increasingly suffer from; diabetes, heart conditions, obesity. One of the ways, it was hoped, we would make better choices about what we eat was the enactment of the nutrition facts labeling system, appearing on packaged food since 1994. However, the illnesses it hoped to reduce since then have only gotten worse.

This month (July, 2015), the Food and Drug Administration has issued a supplemental proposed rule updating the nutrition facts label on food that would, among other things, require declaration of the percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars, as well as change the current footnote on the Nutrition Facts label.

The label on the left is the current label. The one on the right has the proposed changes.

(click on the image to enlarge)

"The Food and Drug Administration wants to make it easier for Americans to track how much added sugars we're getting in the foods and beverages we choose.

So, in addition to a proposed requirement to list amounts of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts panels, the FDA is now proposing that companies declare a daily percent value, too.

What this means is that, instead of just listing the 65 grams of added sugar in that Coke, soda companies would be required to list that it represents 130 percent of the recommended daily intake. In other words, that one bottle contains more added sugar than you should be eating in an entire day." (emphasis mine) Source 

Do these changes have value? Will they help us make better food choices? Are they earth-shakingly brilliant, or are they modest at best? Whatever your opinion, the FDA invites you to share it with them to help guide the development of the new rules. Starting July 27th, and running until Oct. 13th, 2015, you can follow this link to read the full proposal and follow this link to make a comment, suggestion, or constructive criticism, after having read the changes.

This seems like a great idea to me!

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