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The Truth about Hidden Sugars: A Risk for Health

Course Number: 558

Highlights of the Redesigned Food Label

  • Serving sizes have been updated to reflect what people actually eat and drink.

  • Calories are now in larger and bolder font.

  • Calories from fat have been removed because research has demonstrated the type of fat consumed is more important than the amount.

  • An area for added sugars is included in grams and as a percentage Daily Value.

  • Vitamin D and potassium are now included in the list of nutrients, replacing Vitamins A & C.

  • The label also includes footnotes explaining Daily Value.

The label also makes it easier for consumers to identify hidden sugars. Changes include easy to read black font, upper and lower case letters on a white or neutral background. The items are separated by bullets and sugar based ingredients are grouped together. Check the list for anything ending in ‘ose’ (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, maltose), as well as honey, molasses and syrups. As mentioned earlier, there are over 61 different names of added sugars on a food label.9 Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, so where sugar is listed in relation to other ingredients can indicate how much sugar a particular product contains.1 The higher it is located on the ingredient list, the more added sugar the product contains. Keep in mind there are also a number of sugar substitutes used in low-calorie products to provide sweetness, but with fewer calories. Examples include xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol. As a side note, keep xylitol out of reach from pets, it is toxic even in small doses and can be hidden in items such as peanut butter, protein bars, baked goods, and toothpaste.

ce558 - Content - Highlights of the Redesigned Food Label - Figure 1