‘Added Sugars’ Term Misleading and Not Based on Science

The Sugar Association voiced its objection to the use of the term “added sugars,” noting it is misleading and without scientific justification, in comments delivered today at a public meeting of the FDA concerning a proposed rule on updating the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP).

“The Association recognizes that one of FDA’s objectives is to assist consumers in making healthy food and beverage choices. However, we have serious concerns about the use of selective dietary guidance, from just one edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as the sole basis for proposing sweeping labeling regulation changes,” stated Andy Briscoe, president and CEO of The Sugar Association.

Briscoe noted that while general dietary guidance to increase or reduce certain foods has merit for the general population, there is not a preponderance of science as required by law, to support the “added sugars” recommendation.

Briscoe pointed to the Nutrition Evidence Library scientific literature reviews conducted by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which did not find that “added sugars” intake contributes to nutrient displacement, displacement of nutrient-rich foods and, as FDA has stated in their proposed rule, obesity or heart disease.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines specifically state that USDA Food Patterns suggested intakes “have not been tested for health benefits,” Briscoe told the FDA panel.

Briscoe also strongly emphasized that no authoritative scientific body, including the Institute of Medicine and European Food Safety Authority, has found a public health need to set an Upper Level for “added sugars” intake. Further, FDA’s own definition of healthy does not take sugars into consideration.

“The lack of science to justify ‘added sugars’ labeling and the fact that FDA must require every food and beverage manufacturer to keep written records on thousands of products in order to enforce this proposed regulation, sets a dangerous precedent for this and future labeling regulations,” Briscoe said.

“Therefore, we encourage the Agency to maintain its strong commitment to science and withdraw its ‘added sugars’ labeling proposal in the NFP Proposed Rule,” Briscoe concluded.

To view Briscoe’s testimony in its entirety, click here.

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