Nutrition Facts

On May 20, 2016, First Lady Michelle Obama announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration final approval of a requirement that food makers list grams of added sugars on nutrition facts panels, along with the percentage of the recommended daily maximum they represent. This long-awaited change represents a real victory for consumers and their health. The science is clear that added sugars, which today appear in 68 percent of packaged food and beverages, are a key contributor to rising rates of diabetes and liver, heart, and dental disease.

While the federal dietary guidelines now call for a daily maximum of 12 teaspoons of added sugars, the typical American consumes 23 teaspoons per day—often without knowing it. The new requirements will ensure that families know what is in the products they buy and the implications for their health.

The portion information on labels will now reflect how people actually consume the products. A 20-oz. Coca-Cola, for example, will be identified as one serving, containing a whopping 120 percent of the recommended daily maximum for added sugars.

While truth in labeling will help, much more action is needed to reverse the tide of added sugars that have flowed into the American diet in recent decades, and the relentless marketing of products that are contributing to chronic, nutrition-related diseases. But this change to nutrition information is a critical early step.

For more information, see:
Changes to Nutrition Facts Label, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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