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Added Sugars on Nutritional Labels Will Make a Difference

Updates to food and beverage labels according to FDA policy may have a positive effect on public health

The Lempert Report

Renata Micha, registered dietitian, Ph.D., associate research professor at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, led a study to see if the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy to update food and beverage labels to include information on added sugar could have the potential to significantly reduce diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the U.S. from 2018 to 2037.

“The purpose of our study was to estimate the impact of the FDA’s added sugars label on reducing sugar intake and preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Micha said in a press release. “Our results indicate that timely implementation of the added sugars label could reduce consumption of foods and beverages with added sugars, which could then lead to an improvement in health and a reduction in healthcare spending.”

Two scenarios were modeled in the study: updates to food and beverage labels according to the FDA policy without a change in industry formulations (sugar label) and updates to the labels with industry reformulation (sugar label with reformulation).

From 2018 to 2037, the researchers predict that the sugar label scenario would either prevent or postpone 599,300 new cases of Type 2 diabetes and 354,400 new cases of cardiovascular disease.

When industry reformulation to reduce sugars was added to the scenario, the study indicated 708,800 cases of cardiovascular disease and 1,184,000 cases of Type 2 diabetes could be avoided.

This study models the public’s response and an industry response, reducing sugar intake by only about 8% with a very large impact on health and costs.  

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