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ADA supports dietary guidelines on added sugars

May 12, 2015

By Craig Palmer

Washington – The Association supports food labels "that list the added sugar(s) content in more relatable terms," the ADA said May 8 in technical comments on national dietary guidelines under development.

The Association urged "more research on the effects of added sugars, sweeteners and artificial sweeteners" in congressional testimony  April 29.

The ADA offered technical comments on the dietary guidelines to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture in response to Feb. 23 and April 8 Federal Register notices by the agencies requesting comments.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee examined the latest evidence on added sugar(s) to evaluate whether revisions to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 were warranted. The DGAC defined added sugar(s) as "sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), syrups, naturally occurring sugars that are isolated from a whole food and concentrated so that sugar is the primary component (e.g., fruit juice concentrates), and other caloric sweeteners."

The ADA supports this definition for added sugar(s), which is part of the Food and Drug Administration proposal to include a separate line for added sugar(s) (in grams and teaspoons) on a revised Nutrition and Supplements Facts label, the Association said.

The Association commended the DGAC for recognizing dental caries in its report and offered these summary comments in a cover letter to the HHS and Agriculture secretaries:

  • "We commend the DGAC's due diligence in finding there is a moderate degree of consistent evidence about whether dental caries rates fluctuate based on the volume of added sugar(s) consumed. We hope the final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy will include a recommendation to support additional research in this area.
  • "The DGAC recommendation to limit added sugar(s) to a maximum of 10 percent of total daily caloric intake seems like a reasonable public health goal. We recommend consulting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about the scientific support for establishing minimum or maximum recommended daily values (RDVs) for non-nutrients.
  • "We support the DGAC recommendation to require a separate line for added sugar(s) (in grams and teaspoons) on Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels. We also support the FDA proposal to encourage manufacturers to list the fluoride content on bottled water.
  • "We applaud the DGAC recommendation to make potable water more readily available and encourage consumers to drink more of it. We hope the final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy will address the oral health benefits of drinking optimally fluoridated water.
  • "We agree that consumers may benefit from standard front-of-package labels that list the added sugar(s) content in more relatable terms (e.g., teaspoons, etc.). We have dental-specific concerns about rating the 'healthfulness' of food and beverage products.
  • "We encourage support for public health research projects evaluating whether sugar-sweetened beverage taxes and other disincentive pricing strategies will have any noticeable impact on oral health outcomes."

The technical comments offer further detail on these recommendations. For more information on ADA nutrition policy and added sugar(s) visit MouthHealthy.org.