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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.

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  • 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? 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. Dec 27 '17 at 13:53
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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! May 6 '15 at 23:31
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It seems that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently added guidance for "added sugars" as a part of enhancing the existing nutrition facts label.

They differentiate between "total sugars" and "added sugars" and provide the following regarding %DV for total sugars:

"There is no Daily Value* for total sugars because no recommendation has been made for the total amount to eat in a day."

As for %DV of added sugars, they also appear to have a PDF of daily recommended values for food components which suggests for adults and 4 years and older that the daily recommended value is 50g:

chart showing daily recommended values for food components

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