Bitter truth about your favorite foods

The FDA is making it easier to find out how much sugar is in the food you buy. And you may be shocked at what you learn.

Get ready for sticker shock on some of your favorite foods.

The Food and Drug Administration has released new guidelines for nutrition information printed on food packaging. Starting in summer 2018, companies will be required to include an “added sugar” line to their nutrition labels.

The change, one of several that will appear on the new label, is designed so that consumers can distinguish between sugars naturally found in food and sugars that manufacturers add to improve taste or boost flavor.

Researchers conducted a detailed survey of the packaged foods and drinks purchased in American grocery stores and found that seven out of 10 items include some form of added sugar or sweetener. Some foods are more obvious — cereals, for example — but others are less expected, including soups, sauces and even frozen meat products.

Many health experts support the new guidelines, saying the new labeling will help consumers make informed decisions about what they put in their bodies.

“Strong evidence shows that consuming a lot of added sugars is associated with excess weight in children and adults,” said Dee Paradowski, clinical nutritionist and diabetes educator, Norton Healthcare. “There also is a link to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.” 

The new labels come less than a year after the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture released new dietary guidelines, which recommend limiting calories with added sugars to less than 10 percent of your daily diet. That translates into roughly 200 calories a day — about the same as a can of regular soda.

“Eating less sugar helps decrease overall caloric intake, ensures adequate vitamin and mineral consumption, and controls weight,” Paradowski said.

Even with all this new information, she said you don’t need to fret over every morsel of added sugar you put in your body. It’s all about moderation.

“This doesn’t mean you have to cut sugar out of your life completely,” she added. “Just make changes to how many servings you have by establishing healthy eating patterns.”


Wondering if sugar is contributing to your risk of diabetes? Take a quick online assessment.


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