Solving the Sugar Problem One Label at a Time

At FWG, we believe in transparency. While we love and promote tasty, nourishing food, we also think people have the right to choose something, well, junky, every now and then. But it should be absolutely clear what is in the product. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration proposed that the nutrition labels on packaged foods start listing the amount of added sugar they contain as a percent of the recommended daily intake.  

Take, for example, that favorite soda.  A 20-ounce bottle of coca-cola packs in about 65 grams of added sugar (sugar added to food during production and packaging).  Health experts recommend that added sugars constitute only 10 percent of our daily calories, meaning that the 65 grams of added sugar in your soda represents 130 percent of the recommended daily intake.  In other words, way more than you should be consuming! The new labels would seek to curb that unhealthy over-consumption.

Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University told The New York Times that this change would not only “affect the choices of the subset of people who read labels,” but also, “encourage food manufacturers to look harder for ways to cut down on added sugars in their products.”  These food manufacturers have already criticized the proposal, however, arguing that the move is not scientifically justified, would be very expensive, and would confuse consumers.

This proposal from the FDA comes in the wake of their announcement that food companies have three years to remove artificial trans fats from their products.  The announcement, which came in June, seeks to make food more healthful. The evidence is clear: Trans fats increase the risk of heart attacks and stroke, raise bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, and harm blood vessels.  There is no place for it in our food. This new requirement from the FDA is a step beyond their initial requirement of including trans fat content on food labels.

Food Works Group is dedicated to creating a smarter food system, and we believe that transparency in our food supply is a critical piece of that. FWG applauds the FDA for their efforts to further this goal.