The FDA recently published a supplemental rule that establishes a Daily Reference Value
(DRV) for added sugars on the food labeling of American food products. Initially proposed in March of
2014, the requirement has been a hotly-contested feature of nutrition labeling reform in recent
years. Aimed to "...assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices" the new
information "...is consistent with current data on the associations between nutrients and chronic
diseases or health-related conditions, reflects current public health conditions in the United
States, and corresponds to new information on consumer behavior and consumption patterns."
In a prior review of American dietary habits, the FDA determined that solid fats and added
sugars make up inordinate proportions of American diets. On average, 35 percent of these
calories provide no nutritional benefits and add to weight management issues.
Consequences for Food ManufacturersIn the face of growing rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes among the American
populace, the new rules take a clear shot at the processed foods industry in the United States. It
remains unclear what cost the new regulations will exact upon food manufacturers and their
profit margins. Aimed primarily to increase awareness of the adverse effects of added sugars,
the new food labeling provisions will ensure the following of American food products:
An established DRV of 10 percent of total personal caloric intake from added sugars, or 200
such calories for the average American consumer.
A required statement of the products' added sugars as per percentage of daily value.
The presentation of a clear, simplified footnote on nutrition labels, stating " The % Daily Value
tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day
is used for general nutrition advice."
Departmental InconsistenciesIn their explanation of the new rules, the FDA cites findings from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines
Advisory Committee (DGAV). To wit, the FDA "...considered the scientific evidence that the
DGAC used, which showed that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie
requirements if one exceeds 10 percent of total calories from added sugar, and has determined
that this information supports this daily value for added sugars. The DGAC also recommended
that Americans limit their added sugars intake to less than 10 percent of total calories."
Curiously, while the FDA has taken strongly to the DGAV's suggestions, neither the Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS) nor the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
has followed suit and adopted the regulations into the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.