If you’re anything like me, you care what you put into your body. This doesn’t mean that you eat cleanly 100% of the time, but you want to know what you are eating, no matter if it’s the 80-90% of the time that you’re eating well or that other 10% of the time that you go crazy. Whatever you are eating, you want it to be as easy as possible to be as health-conscious and in control as possible.
So, all that being said, it’s frustrating when you not only have to look at the nutrition label but also the ingredients to to decipher where exactly all of the sugar, protein and carbohydrates are coming from. It can misleading when you look at a Larabar and see there are 20 grams of sugar, but when you read the ingredients you realize it’s all natural sugar from fruit. It can also be misleading when you see there is 0 grams of sugar in a bar, but they have really just replaced all of the natural or regular sugar with mysterious chemicals. Or what if there are both natural and added sugar all mixed up together, but you are unsure how much of each is actually present in one serving.
In 2014, in an effort to help all of us navigate through the never-ending and daunting maze that is eating well, the F.D.A. proposed that a food’s nutrition labels be forced to display the amount of added sugar in the product. Added sugars are defined as any sugars that have been added to the food during processing and packaging. For the most part, these added sugars are adding empty calories and sugars to most American’s diets. While this is a great first step, right now it is still up to each of us to determine the percentage of our recommended daily calorie intake that that specific amount of added sugar is. As a result, the F.D.A. just announced last Friday that they want nutrition labels to be required to show the percent Daily Value of “added sugars” that are present in food. After extensive research, the F.D.A. reports that at the most only 10% of your daily calories should come from these added sugars. That adds up to about 50 grams, or in other words, one 16-oz soda.
With these new proposals, consumers will have more information about the ingredients and the nutrients that they are putting into their body. They will more easily be able to read the sugar portion of the nutrition label, as well as realize what that amount of added sugar means in regards to the bigger picture, their whole calorie intake of the day.
While nutrition labels will still be confusing to follow, the F.D.A. is moving in the right direction and attempting to help all of us lost souls out there toward better choices. You can rest assured that slowly but surely, you are getting more and more of a helping hand as you continue on your journey toward the healthiest you.