Food Labels: If Products had % Daily Values for Sugar

Jan 08, 2015 11:09:00AM

It’s now common knowledge that 75% of food products in stores contain added sugar. Adding sugar lets manufacturers cheaply improve the taste and shelf-life while also making their products more addictive.

Food companies refuse to list % Daily Values for Sugar. So we're doing it for them.

Nutrition facts are seriously lacking, and food labeling standards don't tell the full story of what's inside the package.

By law, companies are required to list ingredients and to provide Nutrition Facts for the benefit of consumers. Look closely at a nutrition label – isn’t it weird that % Daily Values are listed for vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins – but NOT for sugar? What gives?

FDA: Daily Values for Sugar “Not Established”

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates food packaging:

“Sugars: No daily reference value has been established for sugars because no recommendations have been made for the total amount to eat in a day.”

To anyone who has been paying attention, that is some serious baloney! Numerous prominent public health authorities have made recommendations for daily sugar intake:
  • The American Heart Association recommends a maximum limit of 6 teaspoons of added sugars for women; 9 teaspoons for men
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that an individual’s total intake of free sugars not exceed 10% of total daily calorie intake (average - 12 teaspoons), and ideally less than 5% (average – 6 tsp).
And most high profile of all – making headlines all over the world in 2014:
  • The World Health Organization dropped its sugar intake recommendations from 10% of daily calorie intake to 5% – or 6 teaspoons per day for the average person.

So come on, FDA, get with the times. Authorities all across the board are saying we need to eat less sugar.


The REAL Reason They Don’t Label %DV for Sugars

It’s simple. Sugar is big business, and everyone knows processed food sales will be hurt once people get wise to how much sugar they’re using. Thanks to pressure from the sugar and processed food lobbies, we’re left in the dark about sugar’s risks and overuse. Maybe things will change one day, but until then, let’s see what the nutrition facts for some popular foods would look like if they listed % Daily Values for Sugar.

Disclaimer: For the sake of simplicity, we’re going with WHO average recommendations of 6 teaspoons, or 30 grams of sugar. Many products contain natural sugars, so we’ve selected products that contain high amounts of added sugar.

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