tion labeling. Such a reference value could be misinterpreted as a desirable intake.
In North America a large and increasing number of adults, adolescents, and children are overweight or obese. The Nutrition Facts box already includes leading information on total calories and total calories from fat. Consumers need guidance about major sources of calories in food, including sugars.
Guidelines for healthy eating, including U.S. government consumer guidelines, often caution consumers to moderate their intake of sugars in general and to sparingly use beverages and food containing added sugars (USDA, 1996; USDA/DHHS, 2000). The major Canadian consumer guidelines are under revision, but a recent fact sheet for educators and communicators that interprets the existing guidelines defines simple sugars and states that “all added sugars, including honey and molasses, contribute primarily energy and taste and have no other significant nutrition advantages” (Health Canada, 2002). In the United States there is no line item in the Nutrition Facts box for added sugars, and there is no DV for sugars to place this source of energy in the context of the total daily diet.
The nutrition labeling committee considered that consumers attempting to follow dietary advice on added sugars might benefit from nutrition labeling that enables them to easily assess the relative amount and caloric contribution of natural and added sugars in food and supplements. However, without appropriate reference values for total, natural, or added sugars in the macronutrient report, the committee is unable to recommend an approach for developing a reference value for sugars or added sugars for nutrition labeling based on the DRIs. Moreover, it is unclear whether a % DV is the most appropriate means for providing information to consumers about sugars or added sugars in the context of a total daily diet. The committee does, however, recognize that consumers need guidance by which to place this important source of calories in labeled food in the context of the total diet. Provision of this guidance should be an urgent consideration of the cognizant regulatory bodies.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE 6. Two thousand calories (2,000 kcal) should be used, when needed, as the basis for expressing energy intake when developing Daily Values (DVs).