Despite FDA calling out the amount of added sugars in products when it revamped the Nutrition Facts panel and other efforts to educate consumers about the risks of consuming too much sugar, including increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity, most Americans exceed the recommended cap of 50 grams per day based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet, according to FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
FDA agreed during the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health last fall, to work with other HHS divisions and the US Department of Agriculture to identify and assess additional strategies to reduce added sugar consumption, such as developing targets for categories of foods, similar to the voluntary targets FDA developed for sodium.
It also committed to hosting a public meeting and listening session to explore how it, along with private industry, communities and other federal agencies, can reduce added sugar consumption and answer questions on the topic. The public meeting will be live streamed Nov. 6 and registration will extend through the start of the meeting. The listening sessions will be Nov. 6 and 7 and registration will be open through Oct. 12.
The agency’s effort to reduce added sugar consumption is part of its broader commitment to improve nutrition and reduce diet-related chronic disease with dietary guidance and additional information on food labels. Other reduction targets include saturated fat and sodium.
CSPI petitions for change
The meetings also follow pressure from CSPI and NYC DOHMH, which filed a citizen petition in April urging FDA to set voluntary targets for reducing added sugars in foods and beverages.
The petition asks FDA to follow the same approach it took for reducing sodium – which has had mixed results and its fair share of set backs – and establish short-, mid- and long-term targets for reducing added sugar content in the food and drink categories that contribute the most to overall added sugar consumption. Over ten years, CSPI argues, FDA could lead a step-change reduction so that most Americans consume less than 10% of calories from added sugar.
The petition also asks FDA to create a public online database of the products with the most added sugar, including their nutrition information.
CSPI also asks FDA to provide public progress reports and expand its guidance to include prepared food and require related information on menu labeling.
FDA will review strategies from other countries, comments from stakeholders
At the upcoming meetings, FDA will present background information on added sugars and share reduction strategies implemented by other countries, host panel sessions on federal, industry and community approaches to reduce added sugar consumption and offer an opportunity for participants to submit questions and share additional information.
Beginning Nov. 6 through Jan. 22, FDA will also accept electronic comments.
More information about the meeting can be found on the event page.