Does My Yogurt Have Too Much Added Sugar? Tell the FDA You Want to Know

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?

Current and Proposed Nutrition Label.  %DV is based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Current and Proposed Nutrition Label. %DV is based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Shoppers Confused on Nutrition Label’s Added Sugar, Why it Matters

The FDA wants to require listing the amount of “Added Sugars” on the new version of the Nutrition Facts label. We wrote about this and the FDA’s other proposed changes here. But will this change make it easier to make healthy choices or just cause further confusion?

A new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics attempts to find out how consumers interpret “Added Sugars” on proposed versions of the Nutrition Facts label. AICR recommends limiting processed foods high in added sugar because these foods are energy-dense and can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight gain is a cause of ten cancers.

The many names of sugarThe study included a qualitative interview phase and a quantitative phase, which surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,088 adults.

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Lobbyists Move to Weaken the Dietary Guidelines; Help Us Protect Them

Food industry lobbyists are exerting pressure on Congress to weaken the soon-to-be-released 2015 USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If they succeed, the Guidelines will put politics before sound science, and fail to provide useable guidance for Americans that could help prevent thousands of cancers every year.

ShowImage.ashxIn two new appropriations bills now under consideration by Congress, language has been added that would:

  1. Subject the Dietary Guidelines to an arbitrary standard of evidence that doesn’t align with accepted scientific practice observed by other government entities like the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institutes of Medicine, as well as the World Health Organization.
  2. Not allow the Dietary Guidelines to make recommendations on issues closely related to food and nutrition. This would mean, for example, that the clear and convincing evidence about the impact of obesity and inactivity on cancer and other chronic diseases would not be considered.
  3. Prevent the Dietary Guidelines from:
    1. proposing public health ideas to help Americans decrease our national intake of sodium, saturated fat and added sugars
    2. encouraging Americans to increase our physical activity, and
    3. providing practical guidance to families about healthy eating and living

These changes would represent a huge step backward in national health policy, and – crucially, from AICR’s perspective – mean that much of the evidence showing how people can lower their cancer risk would be effectively ignored, including the latest AICR research on the clear and convincing link between obesity and ten of the most common forms of cancer. Continue reading