If you’re like the average American, more than half of your diet is filled with processed foods. Many of these foods are full of added sugar and fat and contribute to overweight and obesity. This matters for cancer prevention, because obesity is linked to higher risk, and a healthy diet links to lower risk for many common cancers, as well as other chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending Americans limit how much added sugar we eat and drink every day, according to a New York Times article — a shift that could potentially help Americans reduce their cancer risk.
The FDA is recommending we limit our added sugars to no more than 10 percent of daily calories. For an adult on a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s about 50 grams a day, about the amount in one can of soda or some flavored coffee lattes.
The new guidelines will make their way onto foods’ Nutrition Labels, where shoppers will be able to distinguish between sugars added to the food and those that are natural to the food. Fruits and milk all contain natural sugars.
For cancer risk, arming shoppers with more information on added sugars is important because foods and drinks with too much sugar can lead to excess body fat. These added sugars are often lurking in foods that are seemingly healthy, such as fruit drinks and yogurts. Fruits come with nutrients and other compounds that play a role in reducing cancer risk.
Currently, about two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese in our country. Overweight and obesity is a cause of approximately 122,000 of the most common cancers each year.
For now, you can use The many names of added sugar, listed in the image above, to spot added sugars in the ingredient list.
If you’re trying to boost your healthy diet and cut cancer risk by cutting back on added sugars – do you know how much added sugar is in your fruit yogurt? What about that energy drink? And would you understand how that amount of sugar fits into a healthy diet? If not, you have the opportunity to let the FDA know you want food labels to have clear information about added sugar in your food. It’s powerful knowledge to help in your food purchasing choices.
Added sugars are any sugars that food manufacturers add to the product, which means it doesn’t count the natural sugars in fruits and other plant foods. Foods and drinks with added sugar can lead to overweight and obesity, and too much body fat causes almost 122,000 cases of cancer in the US every year, so that knowledge IS important.
The FDA had already decided to include added sugars on the new Nutrition Facts label, but after testing different labels, they found consumers want to know how that amount of added sugar in their yogurt fits into their diet – is it a small amount or too much?