Story or Science: Sugars

It can be extremely difficult to determine if the latest trending news story is reporting accurate or credible scientific information—seriously, who has time for that? Because so many stories in the media are about sugars these days, you’ve likely heard many polarizing opinions and complex arguments about this relatively “simple” (pun intended!) ingredient. This infographic, "Story or Science: Sugars", covers some of the information about sugars that you may have come across so that you can decide for yourself—is it good science or just a good story? Read on for more and feel free to share what you learn with others!

Background on Carbohydrates & Sugars

Not sure where to start? This combo article summarizes what you need to know about carbohydrates and sugars. Check it out for the low-down on carbohydrates and sugars including information on nutrient content, sources, and various health benefits. This article will give you a great background on the most important features of carbohydrates and sugars so you can make informed the best choices for you when it comes to incorporating sugars into your diet.

The Latest Scoop on Sugars: 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs)

One of the hottest topics of debate in the 2015-2020 #DietaryGuidelines is sugars. The 2015-2020 DGAs recommend that intake of added sugars be limited to less than 10% of total calories per day. Currently, Americans get 13–17% of our calories from added sugars.

It’s important to note that the recommendation to limit added sugars to less than 10% of total calories is not based on research demonstrating cause and negative health effects. Rather, this level of intake is thought to give consumers sufficient room in their diet to include key nutrients while keeping overall calorie intake at appropriate levels.  

While the evidence behind the 10% recommendation is hotly debated, there is no debating that some people would benefit from reducing their total calories (calories from sugars included) in their effort to achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight. All calories contribute to body weight, not just those from sugars.

You can read more about key updates in the 2015-2020 DGAs here.

Consumer Investigation Into Nutrition Facts Panels and Sugars Labeling

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering updates to our food labels, specifically the Nutrition Facts Panel—you know, that familiar black and white table found on the back or side of food and beverage packaging. One addition proposed by the FDA is to include a separate line for “added sugars,” which has led to much debate. The FDA has conducted consumer research to understand how consumers interpret “added sugars” information on food labels. And so have we, with strikingly similar results to the FDA studies. Our consumer research is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Read more about our study here.

This blog includes contributions from Kris Sollid, RD.

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