In this guest blog post for Scientific American, New York University’s Dr. Marion Nestle hashes out the details and politics behind the updated Nutrition Facts Panel.
- “The FDA actually began work on revising the food label in 2005 with a request for public input on updating serving sizes, and it began formal rulemaking in 2008. The FDA proposed rules and issued its last call for comments in 2014. I attribute this nine-year process to details and politics.”
- “First, the details. The Federal Register notice on the food label takes up 943 pages, and it takes another 170 pages to explain the changes in serving sizes.”
- “The new food label distinguishes between intrinsic sugars in food and those added in manufacturing; it also sets a Daily Value for the maximum amount of sugars recommended for diets of 2,000 calories a day. Americans consume roughly twice the amount of sugar recommended for good health, and sugars are rampant in processed foods. All it takes is one 16-ounce soft drink to reach the 50-gram daily maximum.”
- “The [Sugar] Association argues, correctly, that the sugars that occur naturally in fruits are biochemically identical to those added in manufacturing. But this argument misses how added sugars dilute the nutritional value of food products. Much research supports the health benefits of eating fruit, whereas added sugars raise risks for obesity and other chronic conditions.”
- “The Sugar Association does not really care about science. It cares about what will happen to sales if people read labels and reject products with added sugars.”