If you’re someone who tries to make healthy dietary decisions (and some of us are better about it than others), you’ve probably taken note of the amount of sugar in your morning orange juice. But how much of that sugar is natural, and how much of it is added later? Right now, there’s no way to know.
One of the FDA’s proposed changes to the nutrition facts label (the changes are intended to bring food labeling up-to-speed with the actual eating habits of Americans) is an “added sugars” section below total sugars.
“I think the new labeling with the added sugar distinction will help consumers become more educated about how and how much their foods are sweetened,” says Leslie Anders, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Hartsdale.
But are added sugars worse for you than natural sugars? Maybe not inherently, but Anders says there’s still a difference. “Natural sugars in foods are coupled with other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber—and sometimes protein in milk,” she says. “Added sugars typically have no nutrient value except calories. Added sugars on top of natural sugars can really ramp up the total sugar grams.”
Don’t expect any changes to the label tomorrow. Proposals accepted this year have a compliance date of January 2018.