FDA aims to strengthen sugar labeling

TOPEKA (KSNT) — The FDA is proposing yet another change to those little nutrition labels on your food products, this time they’re taking aim at sugar.

As the number of adults diagnosed with obesity, heart disease and type-two diabetes continues growing, now the FDA hopes these new labels can help everyone lead healthier lives.

“I think it’s important to keep track of a lot of the things people put in food these days,” said Monk Drapeaux-Stewart.

“The sugars on the label currently encompass natural sugars, also the added sugars that are in the product, so the new labels will have an extra area there for just added sugars,” said Mary Alice Scheer, a Clinical Dietitian for Stormont Vail Health Care.

“Natural occurring sugars are a lot easier for your body to break down and actually utilize the energy properly,” said Drapeaux-Stewart.

The FDA recommends an average adult on a 2,000 calorie diet consume no more than 50 grams of added sugar a day.

Just looking at one 20 ounce bottle of coke, there’s 65 grams of sugar.

So drinking that one coke puts you over the limit for the entire day.

“The trouble is, you know, we may not just do one soda, we may go to a fast food restaurant where it’s self-serve and we may fill it up once or twice and we’re taking in large quantities of soda, which equates to large quantities of added sugar,” said Scheer.

Scheer says other drinks like sweet tea and Gatorade are just as bad, not to mention cookies, candy and ice cream.

“Sugar is a big driver of obesity and of food continual weight gain, so it’s very important to get a handle on the amount of added sugars that are in foods,” said Scheer.

Also, high sugar intake, on a regular basis, is linked to Type-Two Diabetes and Heart Disease.

That’s why many shoppers are working to keep that sugar under control.

“I think it would be a great idea for there to be as much information as possible about what you’re putting in your body because everyone should have a right to know,” said Drapeaux-Stewart.

The FDA is also considering modifying the portion sizes on those labels in the near future, to more accurately reflect what most people consume.

Right now the sugar guidelines are still technically proposals.

The FDA will continue taking public comments on the changes for the next 72 days.

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