Listing Added Sugar on Food Labels May Save Lives

18 Avril, 2019, 06:38 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Proposed sugar label could save $31B in health care costs study

These nutrition labels could help prevent more than 350,000 cases of heart disease and 600,000 cases of type 2 diabetes. The research follows the US Food and Drug Administration's decision in 2016 to begin requiring food makers to disclose added sugars on nutrition labels.

"Our study is the first to estimate the potential health and cost-saving benefits of the FDA's added sugar labeling", said study coauthor Renata Micha, a research associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. "Our results indicate that timely implementation of the added sugars label could reduce consumption of foods and beverages with added sugars, which could then lead to an improvement in health and a reduction in healthcare spending".

"Informing consumers about what is in their sugary drinks, cakes and candies will help them decide what they want to eat for their health now and later", said Martin O'Flaherty, a professor in epidemiology at the University of Liverpool and study co-senior author.

Offering consumers more information about added sugar in food products could reduce the number of heart disease and diabetes diagnoses by hundreds of thousands, a new study says.

This would save the United States $31 billion in health care costs and $62 billion in productivity and other societal costs, said senior researcher Renata Micha.

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To make issues less complicated for customers, the FDA proposed a brand new line on the Diet Details label that totals up all these sources of added sugar.

Published in Circulation, the study estimates that the FDA's added sugar label could prevent or postpone almost 1 million cases of cardiometabolic disease, including heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, over a 20-year period.

In explaining the potential effect that a mandated added sugars label would have on sugar content, Micha points to recent experience with food manufacturers who reduced or removed trans fats from their products following trans-fat labeling on products in the U.S.

"Clear, easy-to-understand nutrition labels help guide everyone on the path to healthy eating", says Linda Van Horn, PHD, RDN., American Heart Association volunteer expert and Professor and Chief of Nutrition in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, in Chicago. Their main aim was to help consumers with improved nutritional information.

The study concluded that there was a decline in the consumption of sugar since 2003 in the US, but added sugar intake continued to be above the recommended level of 10 percent of the total energy intake. The lead author of this study noted their findings may be conservative and even underestimate the implications on our health and economy, as they only focused on two chronic diseases. "The model only evaluated health benefits and cost-savings from diabetes and cardiovascular disease outcomes", says Micha, adding that the label mandate could have a positive impact on a variety of other health concerns. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. "As with any medical or public health intervention, our estimates represent average population effects; for any given individual there may be larger or smaller changes".

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