The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) most recent report on Front of Package Labeling reflects a surprising reversal of its 2010 Phase I science-based recommendation on sugars, in which the panel concluded that total or added sugars were not one of the “most pressing diet-related health concerns.”

Now, in Phase II, the IOM panel has ignored this scientific approach regarding sugar intake. In doing so, it has disregarded the conclusion of another IOM panel and the European Food Safety Authority that there is no scientific evidence supporting an upper intake level for total or added sugars.

If added sugars were to be included on the Front of Package labeling, it could incentivize manufacturers to replace natural sugars with chemically produced artificial sweeteners and bulking agents, which will provide few, if any, nutritional advantages or significant caloric reductions overall. For example, a mother shopping for all three ratings on any given label will undoubtedly be serving more artificially sweetened products to her children in an attempt to avoid natural “added” sugars.

The proposed added sugars rating fails to provide clarity about what a healthful choice is and will lead to consumer confusion. For example, according to the IOM rating system, an artificially sweetened diet soda is a better choice than 1% milk; toasted oat cereal is a better choice than bran flakes with raisins; and an artificially sweetened ice cream is a healthier choice than a naturally sweetened yogurt.

This rating system is not only impractical, it’s a step backward in the efforts to educate consumers about important food choices. Much like the failed messages of the low-fat decade of the 1990s, Americans will be misled into purchasing foods based on the absence of added sugars rather than evaluating their total caloric intake and nutritional value.

The continued emphasis on specific ingredients will only continue to prolong the real problem – caloric imbalance. We must stop looking for something to blame and start helping consumers make the most natural and healthful decisions.

In the News

Sugar logo

History Lesson: Taking a look at historical trends in sugar consumption

February 6, 2020

February 2020 Although not widely talked about by the media, a significant dietary trend has been taking place. Over the past 20 years, added sugars consumption has been on a steep decline. In terms of teaspoons, added sugars intake has decreased by nearly 25 percent since 2000, dropping from 21 to 16.1 teaspoons per day. […]

Maria Scott: Proudly Promoting the Science of Sugar

January 6, 2020

January 2020 Laura Rutherford, sugarbeet grower and writer, interviewed Maria Scott, Senior Director of Scientific Affairs at the Sugar Association, to hear more about her background and the work the Sugar Association is doing. Read the full article at: https://www.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?i=647548#%22{\%22issue_id\%22:647548%22

Sugar logo

Stick a Label on It: 2020 brings a new Nutrition Facts Label. What does it mean for sugar?

January 6, 2020

January 2020 Whether you’re one of the 80 percent of consumers who claim they at least sometimes use it, or the 20 percent that don’t, we are all familiar with the Nutrition Facts Label found on the back of foods and beverages. After nearly 25 years, the Food and Drug Administration decided it was time […]

More Articles

Stay in Touch

Sign Up