In May 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an update to the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods and introduced a new section on the label for added sugars. Many foods contain naturally-occurring sugars, but this label addition breaks down the amount and type of extra sugars that are included in processed foods.
Added sugars can appear in various forms including:
- Single sugars or monosaccharides such as fructose, galactose, or glucose (also called dextrose)
- Double sugars or disaccharides that contain two molecules of sugars such as lactose, maltose, or sucrose
- Sugars from syrups and honey such as cane invert syrup, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup
- Sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are “in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type”
More: Decoding Sugar Names
Sugars are often added to foods for flavor, to enhance texture, and preserve foods. You can find added sugars in an assortment of foods from frozen desserts to sweetened beverages. Although sugar can be broken down in the body into energy, a majority of Americans tend to consume sugar in excess. According to the FDA, the typical American eats up to 270 calories or 13 percent of total calories in added sugars per day. Many of these added sugars come from packaged desserts, drinks, and sweet treats that offer little to no nutritional value and can increase the risk of developing diseases. The federal dietary guidelines recommend that an individual consume a maximum of 10 percent of total calories from added sugars, or 150 calories if you were following a 1,500 calorie per day diet.