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Reworking nutrition labels a good start, Sudbury dietitian says

A Sudbury dietitian says Health Canada needs to take a stance on sugar before adding the ingredient to food labelling.
Sudbury and District Health Unit registered dietitian Tammy Cheguis says Canada's current food labelling system is confusing and intimidating for consumers. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

A Sudbury dietitian says Health Canada needs to take a stance on sugar before adding the ingredient to food labelling.

Earlier this week Health Canada announced a range of proposed changes.

One of these was to list the amount of added sugars in the nutrition facts table.

Tammy Cheguis, a dietitian with the Sudbury and District Health Unit, said Canada needs to create recommendations for sugar in the same way it does for fat and salt.

"There are no national guidelines on sugar,” she said.

“So there really aren't any numbers that exist for how much sugar we should eat in Canada."

In March the World Health Organization recommended people limit their sugar intake to less than five per cent of their daily calorie intake.

Other changes Health Canada proposes include standardizing portion sizes for similar food items and replacing vitamins A and C on the chart with vitamin D and potassium.

Cheguis said Canada’s current labelling system isn't the only option.

“A lot of other countries have gone to different system completely,” she said.

“So instead of a big table with a bunch of numbers and percentages, they've gone to very simple systems like, say, a stoplight system.”

The stoplight system would simply mean green for healthy options, red for unhealthy ones.

Health Canada is asking for the public's feedback on the proposed changes until September.

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