Should Nutrition Labels Note 'Added Sugars'?

Health officials in the United States are considering adding an "added sugars" component to nutrition labels — however, researchers found that consumers might be confused by the label while shopping at the grocery store, according to Reuters.

A team of researchers showed a group of consumers the proposed nutrition label and found that the group tested miscalculated how much actual sugar was in the food. When shown the nutrition label used now, the group correctly understood how much sugar the food contained.

Kris Sollid, co-author of the study and director of nutrients communication at the International Food Council in Washington, D.C., told Reuters that these findings will help the health officials determine the best way to distinguish sugar content in food and drinks. "From the consumer perspective, the ability to quickly and accurately synthesize food label information when shopping is paramount," Sollid said. "Our research shows significantly greater comprehension occurs when `added sugars' information is not presented."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that added sugars are empty calories and do not provide any nutritional value. Adults should not consume more than 265 empty calories per day, according to the USDA.

The FDA says common examples of products with added sugar are soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, grain-based desserts, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, dairy-based desserts, and candy.