- The FDA has officially recommended a cap on daily intake of sugar for the first time: no more than 10% of daily calories. Sugar currently makes up an average of 13.5% of Americans' daily calories, though certain demographics and children tend to consume more than that average.
- This recommendation could impact not just obviously sugary foods, such as soda, candy, and cookies, but also foods with hidden sugar, such as yogurt, whole grain bread, pasta sauce, ketchup, canned fruit, and prepared soups.
- The 10% cap was based on research that modeled various healthy diet patterns, including American, Mediterranean, and vegetarian. Researchers then calculated how many discretionary calories were left over for sugar after a person consumes the necessary nutrients for the day, according to Dr. Susan Krebs-Smith, chief of the risk factors assessment branch at the National Cancer Institute.
An even bigger concern for food manufacturers is if the FDA's proposal for including added sugar on product labels becomes an official requirement, as consumers will be able to see how much sugar occurs naturally in a product and how much is added in by the manufacturer.
Some in the food industry believe that the sugar cap and added sugar labeling requirements will confuse consumers.
"A study published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in June found that people overestimated the amount of sugar in products that listed 'added sugars,' and were less likely to buy them," according to The New York Times. One of the study's authors also concluded that the body doesn't distinguish between naturally-occurring and added sugars.
This cap is in line with the World Health Organization's recommendation, which is also 10%, and the American Heart Association, which also recommends stricter sugar limits.