WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration relies too heavily on a 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report in its proposal to list the per cent Daily Value of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel, according to comments sent to the F.D.A. by the Independent Bakers Association. The F.D.A. needs more scientific evidence to establish a Daily Reference Value (D.R.V.) for added sugars, according to the Washington-based I.B.A.
“I.B.A. believes D.R.V.s should be based on conclusive evidence that reflects scientific consensus, not an advisory report,” said the comments dated Oct. 13 and signed by Nicholas A. Pyle, president of the I.B.A. “We note that the federal government has not issued a final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report. More importantly, a closer look at the 2015 D.G.A.C. report reveals that there is no conclusive scientific evidence regarding the adverse health effects of added sugars or a 10% of calorie intake.”
The F.D.A. originally proposed listing “added sugars” in a proposed rule designed to update the Nutrition Facts Panel and found in the March 3, 2014, issue of the Federal Register. The I.B.A. opposed the listing in its comments to the original proposal, saying science has established that a sugar is metabolized identically by the body regardless of whether it is inherent or added to the food.
The F.D.A. in the July 27, 2015, issue of the Federal Register then proposed listing the per cent Daily Value of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel.
“The F.D.A. has a responsibility to give consumers the information they need to make informed dietary decisions for themselves and their families,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “For the past decade, consumers have been advised to reduce their intake of added sugars, and the proposed per cent Daily Value for added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label is intended to help consumers follow that advice.”
The F.D.A. has proposed to define added sugars as “sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), syrups, naturally occurring sugars that are isolated from a whole food and concentrated so that sugar is the primary component (e.g., fruit juice sweeteners), and other caloric sweeteners.”
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report issued in February said “strong and consistent evidence” shows intake of added sugars is associated with excess body weight; “strong evidence” shows higher consumption of added sugars, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes among adults; and “moderate evidence” indicates higher intake of added sugar, especially in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, consistently is associated with increased risk of hypertension, stroke and coronary heart disease in adults.
The D.G.A.C. report influenced the F.D.A. In the July 27 issue of the Federal Register the F.D.A. proposed to establish a Daily Reference Value (D.R.V.) for added sugars of 50 grams for people age 4 and older and 25 grams for children age 1-3. The F.D.A. proposed people keep added sugar intake below 10% of daily energy/calorie intake.
The F.D.A. accepted comments until Oct. 13.
“After carefully reviewing the studies of the 2015 D.G.A.C. report cited and reviewed, I.B.A. respectfully submits that the current scientific evidence does not constitute a sufficient basis for a 10% of calorie intake D.R.V. for added sugars because there is no conclusive evidence linking particular levels of added sugars with adverse health outcomes other than dental caries,” the I.B.A. said in its comments. “Specifically, in the 2015 D.G.A.C. report, after reviewing 11 intervention studies and 12 prospective cohort studies on the association between added sugars and risk of C.V.D.. (cardiovascular disease), the committee rated the evidence supporting the association as `moderate’ as opposed to `strong.’ Notably missing from the 2015 D.G.A.C. report findings is any particular level of added sugars intake associated with the claimed increased C.V.D. risks.”The I.B.A. noted the F.D.A. in 1993 decided not to establish a D.R.V. for added sugars. The F.D.A. in 1993 said that while D.R.V.s are established for nutrients of public health concern, no conclusive evidence, other than dental caries, demonstrated sugar intake from any source was associated with chronic disease conditions.