- November 6 - 8, 2023
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and our federal partners at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) held a virtual public meeting and listening sessions entitled, “Strategies to Reduce Added Sugars Consumption in the United States.”
The National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health notes that the intake of added sugars for most Americans is higher than what is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and calls for FDA to host, in collaboration with other federal partners, a public meeting on this issue. The event covered the wide range of efforts being taken by federal agencies, communities, and private industry to reduce added sugars in the U.S. food supply and in consumer’s diets.
The FDA will review input received at the public meeting, in listening sessions, and in response to a Regulations.gov docket to determine next steps in consultation with our federal partners.
In 2016, the FDA announced the most comprehensive reform to the Nutrition Facts label since its introduction in 1993. The changes to the label reflect the latest nutritional science available, emphasizing the information that consumers need to make better-informed decisions about their eating habits.
One of the reforms is that manufacturers must include the declaration of the gram amount and the percent Daily Value for “Added Sugars” on the Nutrition Facts label. This change takes into account that Americans on average are consuming added sugars in amounts that exceed recommended limits. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to less than 10 percent of total calories per day. Consuming too much added sugars can make it difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits.
Added sugars include sugars that are added during the processing of foods (such as sucrose or dextrose), foods packaged as sweeteners (such as table sugar), sugars from syrups and honey, and some sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. They do not include naturally occurring sugars that are found in milk, fruits, and vegetables. The Daily Value for added sugars is 50 grams per day based on a 2,000-calorie daily diet. For most Americans, the main sources of added sugars are sugar-sweetened beverages, baked goods, desserts, and sweets.
On September 28, 2022, the White House released a National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health at its Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The strategy aims to end hunger in America and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, so fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. The strategy includes several FDA initiatives to help accelerate efforts to empower consumers with information and create a healthier food supply, including assessing additional steps to reduce added sugars consumption.
While the U.S. has reduced added sugars consumption and established a regulatory definition for added sugars, added sugars intake still exceeds recommended limits for most Americans. As a result, the National Strategy calls for the FDA, with other HHS divisions and the USDA, to begin assessing the evidence base for further strategies to reduce added sugars consumption, and the public meeting will be an initial step in understanding the scope, current landscape, and stakeholder ideas around those strategies.
Purpose and Format of the Virtual Public Meeting and Listening Sessions
Virtual Public Meeting
The public meeting explored what federal agencies, communities, and private industry are doing to encourage the reduced consumption of added sugars. During the public meeting, there were presentations to provide background on added sugars and discuss strategies for reducing added sugars used by other countries; panel sessions on federal, industry, and community approaches to reduce added sugars consumption; and multiple opportunities for participants to submit questions and share information through the listening sessions.
There were two days of facilitated listening sessions offering participants the opportunity to provide feedback on next steps to reduce added sugars consumption in the U.S: Topic 1 – Food Labeling and Food Industry Perspectives and Topic 2 – Consumer Education and Community Perspectives.
You may submit comments to docket FDA-2023-N-3849 beginning on November 6, 2023, electronically or by mail. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before January 22, 2024. Please note that late, untimely comments submitted after January 22, 2024, will not be considered. The Regulations.gov electronic filing system will accept comments until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time at the end of January 22, 2024. Written/paper submissions should be sent to Dockets Management Staff (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Comments received by mail/hand delivery/courier (for written/paper submissions) will be considered timely if they are postmarked or the delivery service acceptance receipt is on or before January 22, 2024.
For Further Information
For general questions about the public meeting or listening sessions, contact CFSAN Communications and Public Engagement Staff at CFSAN-Comms@fda.hhs.gov.
 Lee SH, Zhao L, Park S, Moore LV, Hamner HC, Galuska DA, Blanck HM. High Added Sugars Intake among US Adults: Characteristics, Eating Occasions, and Top Sources, 2015-2018. Nutrients. 2023 Jan 4;15(2):265. doi: 10.3390/nu15020265. PMID: 36678136; PMCID: PMC9867287.