3 years ago

A free sugars daily value (DV) identifies more “less healthy” prepackaged foods and beverages than a total sugars DV

Regulatory changes in Canada will require food labels to have a benchmark [% Daily Value, %DV] for total sugars, based on 100 g/day, while US labels will require a %DV for added sugars, based on 50 g/day. The objective of this study was to compare two labelling policies, a total sugars DV (100 g/day) and a free sugars DV (50 g/day) on food labels. This cross-sectional analysis of the Food Label Information Program database focussed on top sources of total sugars intake in Canada (n = 6924 foods). Products were categorized as “less healthy” using two sets of criteria: a) free sugars levels exceeding the WHO guidelines (≥10% energy from free sugars); and b) exceeding healthfulness cut-offs of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion (FSANZ-NPSC). The proportion of “less healthy” products were compared with those having ≥15%DV (defined as “a lot” of sugars i.e. high in sugars, based on Health Canada's %DV labelling footnote and educational message for dietary guidance) for each sugar labelling scenario. The free sugars DV showed better alignment with both methods for assessing “healthfulness” than the total sugars DV. The free sugars DV identified a greater proportion of “less healthy” foods with ≥15%DV, based on both the FSANZ-NPSC (70% vs. 45%, p < .0001) and WHO guidelines (82% vs. 55%, p < .0001); particularly in sweet baked goods, sugars and preserves, chocolate bars, confectionery, and frozen desserts categories. Compared to total sugars DV labelling, using a free sugars DV identified more “less healthy” foods. Findings support the adoption of free sugars labelling.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0091743517305194

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