Given the growing public interest in obtaining more information on the sugar content of foods as well as public health concerns, changes have been proposed for improved nutrition labelling. #ADDEDSUGAR


In 2014, Health Canada published theProposed Changes to Core Nutrients Declared in the Canadian Nutrition Facts Table. These proposed regulatory changes were intended to simplify and improve the nutrition information shared with Canadian consumers:

  1. Introduce a % Daily Value (%DV) for total sugars based on 100 grams for a 2000 calorie diet.
  2. In the table, include the declaration of added sugars under carbohydrates..
  3. In the ingredient list, group all sugar-based ingredients under one category called sugars..

However, here are the mandatory changes that will need to be met by the food industry before 2022.

What are the new sugar labeling regulations in Canada?

The Nutrition Facts table will have a % DV for total sugars (which includes added sugars and naturally occurring sugars) to help consumers understand if a product has a little (less than 5%) or a lot ( more than 15%) of total sugar based on a 2000 calorie reference diet.

In addition, all sugar-based ingredients will be grouped into a single category in the ingredient list. The goal is to help clarify the amount of sugars actually added to foods. In fact, the food industry can be misleading when it comes to added sugars. These may have different names, which makes it easier to disperse them in the ingredient list, thus making consumers believe that the total amount of added sugars is much lower than it really is.

Surprisingly, the declaration of added sugars is not part of the new food labeling regulations in Canada. Why This Previously Proposed Change Was Ignored Health Canada is concerned that the presence of this category may support the misconception that added sugars are nutritionally different from natural sugars. Also, since there is no separate analytical method to measure these values separately, it would be difficult to distinguish added sugars from total sugars in a food product. That being said, one should rely on the quantities indicated by the manufacturer, thus limiting the reliability of this value.ur.

What are added sugars?

In a simplified way, carbohydrates can be categorized as: starch and sugar. Sugars are simple carbohydrates (called monosaccharides or disaccharides) like glucose, fructose, galactose, maltose, sucrose, lactose, etc. They are naturally present in certain foods such as fruits, vegetables and unsweetened dairy products. When it comes to processed foods, keep in mind that if they don't contain fruit or dairy, then all the sugars come from added sources.

Various sugars are added during manufacturing, cooking and food preparation processes for reasons related to taste, texture, color and preservation. Thus, sugars are sometimes essential to the quality of the product, and even to food safety. Sugars like honey and maple syrup can be considered natural sources, but they are no different from other types of added sugars. This is because they contain the same number of calories and very few vitamins and minerals. In the diets of Canadians, the main sources of added sugars are sugar-sweetened beverages, including carbonated, sports and energy drinks, flavored milks and sugar-sweetened plant-based beverages, juices and sugar-sweetened waters, teas and cafes. Packaged foods like cereals, sauces, desserts, pastries, breads, granola bars and candies also drive up sugar intake for Canadians..

Different names for added sugars

  • Honey
  • lactose
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • agave
  • molasses
  • nectar
  • sucrose
  • dextrose, dextrin
  • brown sugar
  • granulated white sugar
  • corn syrup
  • corn syrup solids
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • fructose
  • etc

Are added sugars a health concern??

Carbohydrates, including sugars, are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Once ingested, they are metabolized into their simplest form, glucose, the brain's preferred fuel. It is recommended to consume at least 130 g of carbohydrates per day and these should represent between 45% and 65% of our diet. Carbohydrate-rich foods provide energy, fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals to our diet.

Added sugars are not inherently bad. On a molecular basis, they are broken down and absorbed in the gut in much the same way as natural sugars. It is their ubiquity in processed foods that can have adverse health effects. Of course, fruits contain fructose and milk lactose. However, these quantities are significantly lower than when opting for cookies prepared with corn syrup solids, or for carbonated drinks made with fructose syrup. Evidence suggests that it is theses excessive amounts of sugars, including fructose found in sucrose and other corn syrups, which can lead to fat gain and thus metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and also dental caries.

What are the current recommendations for added sugars intake?

According to'Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) conducted by Statistics Canada in 2015, adults consume an average of 47.5 g of free sugars (added sugars and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices) or 9.9% of total calories each day. Please note that these data are a brief snapshot of a single feeding day and exclude children, people living on Indigenous reserves, members of the Canadian Forces and those living in institutions.

The Canadian recommendation is to limit total sugars (natural and added sugars) to 20% of the calories consumed, which represents 100 g for a 2000 calorie diet. This 100 g is quite flexible and modest when compared to the recommendations of the American Heart Association and those of the World Health Organization (WHO) which propose limiting the amount of added sugars to less than 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men (i.e. 25 g to 38 g of sugars per day) and to limit the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total calories. These recommendations are based on current epidemiological data.

My opinion!

I believe the original suggestion to include the amount of added sugars in the Nutrition Facts table would address consumer interest...and nutrition expert concerns. After all, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did mandate the listing of total sugars and added sugars on US food labels. This initiative therefore seems to be quite realistic! This addition could also push the food industry to renew itself, fearing that consumers may lose interest in products that are too sweet.ucrés.

The idea is not to cut, at all costs, added sugars from your diet. Only, being informed of their presence simply at a glance could encourage the population to limit certain highly processed foods!

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