IHS Markit

“The Sugar Association has presented a new argument in the ongoing public debate over how much sugar Americans should be told to consume in their daily diet… Specifically, the group, which represents US sugar beet and sugar cane farmers, processors, and refiners, argues that while dietary recommendations for nutrients like sugar should be based on current Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), most DRIs in the US are woefully outdated and DRIs have never been established for total sugars and added sugars.

“Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are essential to sound, evidence-based nutrition policy, including serving as the foundation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” said Courtney Gaine, the Sugar Association’s president/CEO in comments submitted on the 2025-2030 DGAs on November 17. “Yet the DRIs for nearly all macro- and most micro-nutrients are 20 years old,” she said. “Further, a DRI has never been established for added sugars or total sugars.” Concerns about basing dietary recommendations on outdated DRIs are hardly new, Gaine said. Even the experts who sat on the last DGAC called attention to the problem stating in their 2020 scientific report to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and USDA that “for the next cycle of the Dietary Guidelines process, the DRIs for macronutrients … need to be updated so that they provide current knowledge on nutrient recommendations.”

Gaine also raised concern that in the absence of a current DRI for added sugar, the DGAC is being left, again, to base its dietary recommendation for sugar on food pattern modeling, which “lacks the necessary scientific underpinning to determine intake recommendations.””

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