Dr. Campbell: FDA changes food labels to report added sugar

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Food & Drug Administration has just implemented the first significant changes to nutrition food labels since the federal government started requiring them in the early 1990s.

The old labels were based on eating habits and nutrition data from the 1970s and 80s. Since then, American portion sizes have expanded significantly.

Federal health officials argued that the changes were needed to bring labels into step with the today’s diet.

This month, the FDA made a big move to change the requirements for food labels. Now, all added sugars must be indicated on the label. Proponents of this move suggest that consumers have no idea just how much sugar is added to foods—and some foods that have added sugars would surprise you—such as pasta sauces.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) the average American is now consuming 23 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

These sweeteners are hidden in everything from the tea you drink to the yogurt you eat and the peanut butter you buy.

Sodas and energy drinks are the products with the most added sugars and these companies are very much opposed to this new legislation. The FDA is giving companies two years to comply with the changes.

Added sugars have no nutritional value. These additives contribute to obesity, which puts all of us at risk for many chronic diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease –just to name a few.

Obesity is epidemic in the United States today. Nearly 15 percent of children are now obese and almost 30 percent of adults are either overweight or obese.

If current rates of obesity remain the same, by the year 2030, 51 percent of all Americans will be obese. We must act in order to change habits and improve health habits soon. This food label move is a good first step.

Obesity and obesity-related illnesses cost the U.S. nearly $150 billion a year in added healthcare costs.

In 2008 the average intake was 76.7 grams per day, which equals 19 teaspoons or 306 calories.

According to this study, sugar consumption went down by 23 percent between the years 2000 and 2008, mainly because people drank less sugar-sweetened beverages.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are:

Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).

Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).

To put this in perspective, a 12-ounce can of Coke has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar, which is about the equivalent of 9.2 teaspoons.

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter. If there’s a topic you’d like to see Dr. Campbell cover, let us know by sending an email to newstips@wncn.com.

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