Sugar Producer

January 2022

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18 SUGAR PRODUCER | JANUARY 2022 What Are Added Sugars? If you hear the term "added sugars" but aren't that familiar with what it means, you're not alone. While the term has been casually used in the policy world for decades to describe sugars that are added to foods—as opposed to those found innately (i.e., sugars in an orange)— "added sugars" wasn't defined by regulation until five years ago. In 2016, during the push to revise the Nutrition Facts label and include added sugars information, the FDA defined "added sugars" to include all caloric sweeteners added to foods and beverages during preparation or processing (sugar, honey and many others), as well as those packaged as such (a bag of sugar or jar of honey). Starting in 2020, declaring the grams of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Label became law, along with how that amount fits in the FDA's daily value of 50 grams per day or 10 percent of total daily calories. The FDA stated that this information was included so that consumers could more easily follow the target of no more than 10 percent of total calories for added sugars intake recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs); allow consumers to compare products; encourage manufacturers to reformulate; and make it easier for consumers to make informed food choices, as there are a lot of names for added sugars and they can be hard to identify on the ingredients list. According to consumer research conducted by the Sugar Association in March 2021, 80% of consumers say they read nutrition information on the front or back of packages. However, Separating Fact from Fiction Busting myths and gaining understanding about added sugars FROM THE SUGAR ASSOCIATION By Courtney Gaine, President & CEO consumers are confused about how much sugar can be included in a balanced diet. According to the 2020-25 DGAs, a healthy diet includes up to 10 percent of calories from added sugars, allowing room for sugars in nutritious foods and occasional sweets and treats. In a 2,000-calorie diet, this equates to 200 calories, 50 grams, or 12.5 teaspoons. The majority of consumers (75 percent) say it's important to know the dietary recommendations for daily sugar intake, yet three in four consumers think the recommendation is fewer than 40 grams per day. More education is needed if labels are meant to help improve the dietary habits of Americans. It's also helpful to take a step back and put added sugars into the context of the whole diet, as well as take a look at which foods and beverages are contributing the most added sugars in our diets. Where Are Added Sugars? The calories contributed by all major food groups have shifted over the years. Considering the data since 1909, the contribution of calories from sugars and sweeteners reached its highest point in 1973 (18.7% of calories). Contribution dropped slightly from that point throughout the 1980s and climbed again, reaching another peak in the late 1990s (to 18.2% of calories). Added sugars intake has since been on the decline. As long as dietary data have been collected (over 100 years!), added sugars intake has never been below 10% of total calories. Over the last 20 years, added sugars consumption has dropped nearly 30%, from 18.1 to 12.9 % of total calories. Calorically sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, coffee and tea are still the main source of added sugars in the diet across all age groups (older than one year), making up 35% of added sugars calories. While these beverages continue to be the largest contributor to added sugars intake, there has been a 26% drop in calorically sweetened beverage consumption since 2000. It is worth noting that the list of the top eight sources of added sugars also includes foods that contribute important nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, like ready-to-eat cereals and flavored dairy. Evolving Marketplace & Perceptions While the majority of consumers say they look to limit their sugar consumption, consistent with the

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