Read the Recipe

Zeroing In on the Fine Print for Added Sugars

At ObesityWeek in Nashville next week, it will be easy to miss some gold nuggets of insight. Because so much is there, all at once. But a session you should truly not miss is The Scoop on Food Labeling from Inside the Industry. Why? It’s especially timely. The fine print for added sugars is finally coming into view.

FDA Finalizes Guidance

This week FDA issued its final guidance on many aspects of changes to Nutrition Facts labeling. Michelle Obama announced the plan to make these changes way back in 2014. Though the Trump administration delayed them, they’re finally rolling forward.

One of the biggest changes is the disclosure of added sugars. Big food has to fall in line with these regs by 2020. Smaller companies have until 2021.

Industry Adapts

Ask any industry lobbyist and they’ll tell you how hard it is to comply with these nasty regulations. Added sugar is a case in point. Bakers and yogurt makers have been especially vocal in their protests. Lee Sanders of the American Bakers Association explains:

There’s not an analytical method to measure for added sugar. In the baking process, sugar feeds the yeast, so what you put in is not necessarily reflected in the final product.

It’s probably not a coincidence that both baked goods and yogurt products often have a lot of added sugars. So these regs will put pressure on sales if consumers see a lot of added sugar on the label.

Naturally, industry is adapting. Yogurt makers are finding ways to keep their product sweet without “adding” sugar. That might mean finding loopholes in what’s defined as added sugar. Or it might mean finding new yogurt cultures that aren’t as sour. Other food makers are doing the similar work at a feverish pace.

It’s an unpredictable work in progress. But you’d best keep an eye on total sugar in the products you buy. We guarantee that you will be flooded with products claiming “zero added sugar. They can still have plenty of sugar in them. It shows up in the total sugars.

Click here for more on industry concerns about added sugars and here for more on the final regs. For insights on removing added sugars, click here. But for the real, live scoop, come to this session at ObesityWeek 2018.

Read the Recipe, photograph © Liz West / flickr

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November 9, 2018

One Response to “Zeroing In on the Fine Print for Added Sugars”

  1. November 09, 2018 at 11:18 am, Katie Duncan said:

    It will be interesting to see if this results in food products that are even worse for us (i.e. trans fats).