Excess sugar intake affects nearly all Americans and is responsible for a slew of chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, excess weight, and cardiovascular disease. The FDA and other agencies are now tasked with holding a public meeting to build strategies for reducing excess sugar in our food supply. Here’s how you can take part.
What are added sugars?
Added sugars are exactly what they sound like: Sugar and sugar-containing ingredients added to foods and beverages in the preparation process. For example, Mott’s Mixed Berry Applesauce contains 12 grams of added sugars—these are not from the naturally occurring sugars in apples, but from high-fructose corn syrup and sugar that are added to the product.
Added sugars can be one or more of several ingredients; the CDC lists brown sugar, cane juice, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit nectars, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose as examples of added sugars.
How do added sugars affect health?
Excess sugar intake, especially through sugar-sweetened beverages like soda or other drinks sweetened with added sugars, is linked to several leading chronic health issues in the US, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, weight gain, tooth decay, and fatty liver disease. That’s why, earlier this year, CSPI joined the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in petitioning the FDA to set voluntary added sugar targets for food manufacturers.
Dr. Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD, is commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In this video, he explains the reasons reducing added sugars in the food supply, rather than tasking consumers with the onus to track and avoid a “pernicious and pervasive” ingredient.
What to know about FDA’s public meeting
The 2022 White House Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health noted that the intake of added sugars for most Americans is higher than what is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and called for FDA, in collaboration with other HHS divisions and USDA, to hold a public meeting regarding future steps that can be taken to reduce added sugars consumption in the United States. FDA will host, in collaboration with other federal partners, a virtual public meeting followed by virtual public listening sessions to discuss strategies for reducing added sugars consumption in the United States.
If you would like to participate in the public meeting, more information is available on FDA.gov. Registration for the listening sessions is closed. The Virtual Public Meeting is on Monday, November 6, 2023, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. ET (see agenda for more information).
Sign our petition: Tell FDA to develop sugar reduction targets for our food supply