Why does the Sugars category not have a %DV column on US Nutrition Facts Labels?

On Nutrition Facts labels in the US, almost every major category of nutrient has a daily value. Sugars, which appears in many foods, has no daily value recommendation. I find this rather surprising, especially because of how much sugar impacts the nutritional value of a food.

  • I'm uncertain what you meant when you stated "Sugars, one of the most widely used categories..." Do you mean it's often added to food? And you are aware, I presume, that "carbohydrates" (to which group sugar belongs) is listed on the label with a %DV? – anongoodnurse May 6 '15 at 23:14
  • It looks like they are actually phasing in labels that have DV% for added sugars. I've seen a few on sodas recently. – Owen Johnson Dec 27 '17 at 13:53

According to the FDA website, no daily reference value has been established for sugars because no recommendations have been made for the total amount of sugar to eat in a day.

Keep in mind that the sugar values listed do not distinguish between naturally occurring and added sugars because it is not a chemically meaningful distinction. So unlike nutritional information about vitamins, proteins, fats, etc, there really is no level of "recommended sugar" that would make a good blanket statement for everyone.

Claims that high consumption of added sugars harmful to your health is an extremely complicated subject. It's not that the sugar itself is inherently harmful due to any of its chemical properties, it's just that added sugar tends to be in products that have extremely high fat and high calorie content and are easy to consume in large quantities.

So saying to avoid foods high in added sugars is good general advice, but labeling products to indicate that you should consume {x} amount of sugar per day was not a piece of nutritional guidance the FDA was prepared to make in that labeling.

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    I agree that sugar is a very complicated issue. However, given that sugar-sweetened beverages (such as sodas) are by far the biggest sources of added sugar in the average American’s diet (and are not associated with fats), sugar begins to look pretty bad all by itself! – anongoodnurse May 6 '15 at 23:31

The food business doesn't want people to know how much sugar is safe within a day, btw, there is a daily allowance for sugar. the rule is roughly 14 g of sugar per thousand calories consumed. an adult male should only be getting 30g in a whole day. most sodas have around 41g of sugar, pretty good reason to not want a %dv right?

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    Welcome to health SE :-). Since health is an important issue we have a strict policy that all answers should be backed up by reliable references. References are the only way for the community to assess the merit of an answer regardless of the reader's background. You can always edit your answer to add some. For more information please see the help center and Medical Sciences Meta. Thanks! – Lucky May 15 '17 at 20:18

The sugar industry is very powerful in the usa. They obstuficate and obstruct anything that may cast their product in a negative light. The fact there is no dv for sugar has nothing to do with any complications, as fats and proteins also have complications, and everything to do with sugar industry lobbying. If there was a sugar dv I think the majority of products would be above dv per serve. As such the guidelines around sugar have stalled at the very weak 'consume in moderation' statement, without any definition of what moderation may actually be.

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