The total amount of sugars (in grams) is currently listed in the Nutrition Facts box under the general heading of Total Carbohydrate.
The DRI report on macronutrients established an EAR and an RDA for total carbohydrate; no values were set for either total or added sugars. The discussions of adverse effects of overconsumption and hazard identification in the DRI macronutrient report included a complete review of the literature and concluded that the data were not in sufficient agreement to develop a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for total or added sugars:
Published reports disagree about whether a direct link exists between the trend toward increased intakes of sugars and increased rates of obesity. The lack of association in some studies may be partially due to the pervasive problem of underreporting food intake, which is known to occur with dietary surveys (Johnson, 2000). Underreporting is more prevalent and severe by obese adolescents and adults than by their lean counterparts (Johnson, 2000). In addition, foods high in added sugar are selectively underreported (Krebs-Smith et al., 2000). Thus, it can be difficult to make conclusions about associations between sugars intake and BMI [body mass index] using self-reported data.
Based on the above data, it appears that the effects of increased intakes of total sugars on energy intake are mixed and increased intakes of added sugar are most often associated with increased energy intake. There is no clear and consistent association between increased intake of added sugars and BMI. Therefore, the above data cannot be used to set a UL for either added or total sugars. (IOM, 2002a, p. 6–37)
The nutrition labeling committee did consider the suggestion in the DRI report about maximal intake of added sugars:
Based on the data available on dental caries, behavior, cancer, risk of obesity, and risk of hyperlipidemia, there is insufficient evidence to set a UL for total or added sugars. Although a UL is not set for sugars, a maximal intake level of 25 percent or less of energy from added sugars is suggested based on the decreased intake of some micronutrients of American subpopulations exceeding this level. (IOM, 2002a, p. 6–42)
However it was clear to the committee that the maximal intake level of 25 percent of energy from added sugars, as suggested in the DRI report, would be an inappropriate reference value for nutri-