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Decrease consumption of added sugar – but how do you know?

One of the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to reduce consumption of added sugar. If you are drinking a sugar-sweetened beverage or eating candy, you probably already know that they are loaded with added sugar. However, how do you tell in other products such as yogurt or canned fruit? Sure you can look at the grams of sugar on the label but how much of that is added? Let’s take a strawberry yogurt sugar1for example. The grams of sugar on the label include the natural sugar in the milk and strawberries AND the sugar added in processing. There is no way for the consumer to know how much of that sugar has been added.

In an attempt to help consumers consume less added sugar, the FDA is proposing that added sugar be added to the food label. As you might imagine, this is being fought by the dairy industry and baked goods industry. They are fine keeping us in the dark about how much of the sugar in their products is added during processing. There are nay sayers that think there is already too much information on food labels and more will just confuse consumers. However, how can we make a recommendation to consumers to consume less added sugar and give them no way to evaluate products as to the sugar added during processing? I for one look forward to this information coming to food labels and hope FDA is successful with their push to have the food label be in line with dietary recommendations. Having added sugar on the label will at least help consumers be mindful of the added sugar they are consuming.

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