The Transition of Added Sugars on Nutrition Facts Panels

Many foods are naturally sweet, some contain added sweeteners and still others have both naturally occurring sugars and added sweeteners.  Currently, nutrition panels on food packages only show the total amount of sugars in a food so consumers are unable to determine how much of the sugar in the food is added. That will soon be changing.

With the finalization of the changes to the FDA nutrition labeling regulations, “Added Sugars” will now be declared on Nutrition Facts Panels throughout the US. In addition to renaming the nutrient of “Sugars” as “Total Sugars”, FDA will now require “Added Sugars” to be declared within the Nutrition Facts Panel.

Added sugars is defined as sugars added during the processing of foods or are packaged as such. This definition includes sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100% fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.

Examples of added sugars:

  • Dextrose
  • Honey
  • Fructose
  • Lactose
  • Molasses
  • Corn syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup

The definition for added sugars excludes fruit or vegetable juice concentrated from 100% fruit juice that is sold to consumers as a 100% fruit juice concentrate. But other uses of juice concentrates such as adding them to bakery formulas would necessitate including the sugars from the juice concentrate in the “added sugars” declaration.  The phrase “or are packaged as such” from the earlier definition means that a package of granulated sugar will consist of only added sugars.

Both the amount of added sugars per serving and the Percent Daily Value (%DV) will need to be declared. FDA established a daily reference value of 50 grams for added sugars, which is based on scientific data. This data reveals that it is difficult to meet nutrient demands, while staying within calorie limits, if you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugar. The nutrient of added sugars will be indented under total sugars and prefaced with the word “Includes”. The amount in grams will be listed prior to the nutrient name.

Analytical testing cannot distinguish between sugars that are inherent to a food and those that are added. So it will be necessary for manufacturers to evaluate their formulas to determine how much sugar in the food came from added sources. If FDA asks about the sugar content in a food, manufacturers will need to provide substantiation for the determination of the added sugars.

This fall, an advanced course will take a further look at ALL of FDA’s new labeling changes. Reserve your seat now for Specializations: Advanced Labeling of FDA Regulated Foods, Nov. 2-3, 2016.