Nutrition Policy

Nutrition Labeling

Added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Label

History of Nutrition Labeling

The first Nutrition Facts Label was introduced in 1994 following the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, which made including nutrition facts information on packaged food law. Prior to this, the only mandatory information on these items was the product’s name, quantity, ingredients and the name and address of the manufacturer. Nutrition information was only required on products making a nutrition claim or if they were fortified with vitamins, minerals or protein.

Navigating Sugars and Sweeteners in Foods and Beverages

Nutrition Facts side by side comparisonThe goal of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Nutrition Fact Label is to “ensure consumers have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about the foods they eat.”1 All Nutrition Facts Labels are required to include an Added Sugars declaration beginning January 1, 2020 for manufacturers with >$10 million in sales and January 1, 2021 for manufacturers with <$10 million.

“The FDA recognizes that added sugars can be a part of a healthy dietary pattern. But, if consumed in excess, it becomes more difficult to also eat foods with enough dietary fiber and essential vitamin and minerals and still stay within calorie limits.” Having access to added sugars information on the Nutrition Facts Label increases consumer awareness of the quantity of added sugars in foods. “Consumers may or may not decide to reduce the consumption of certain foods with added sugars, based on their individual needs or preferences.”1

Understanding and knowing how to use the information on the Nutrition Facts Label is an essential part of dietary success. While the label is now found on almost all products, it is important to look at how each food and beverage fits into an entire day’s intake and not just focus on what is in one product. It’s also helpful to examine the entire nutrient content of a product and consider how it fits in your total daily diet instead of focusing on one nutrient.

Avoiding Added Confusion

Here is some quick info to help avoid confusion when using the Nutrition Facts Label: Yogurt Nutrition Fact

Total Sugars: This number includes the total of both naturally occurring sugars and added sugars in a product. For example, in strawberry yogurt the naturally occurring sugars come from both the milk and the strawberries while the added sugars come from sugars added to balance and enhance the flavors.

Added Sugars: Added sugars are listed to help you understand how much you are consuming. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend you consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars. That is because it may be difficult to get the nutrients you need for good health while staying within calorie limits if you consume more than 10% of your total daily calories from added sugars.2

Percent Daily Value: Shown as a general rule, the percent daily value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet, based on a target of 2000 calories per day. It is not based on a direct link between sugar and a health outcome, nor is it an amount above which causes harm.

Ingredient List: While not technically a part of the Nutrition Facts Label, ingredients are listed in descending order by weight on the back (or side) panel of packaged foods.

Sweeteners you might find in your food

Sugar in the Context of the Total Diet

Making Sense of ADDED SUGARS on the New Nutrition Facts Label

Sugar & the Diet
Nutrition Policy

Dietary Guidelines for Americans

What are the current recommendations for sugar?

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Sugar & the Diet

Nutrition Policy

Sugar in federal nutrition and food policy

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