What’s your recommended daily limit for sugar?

It may surprise you to learn that Health Canada does not have a daily recommended limit to how much sugar Canadians should consume in a day.

Compare that to salt, which has 1500 mg/day recommended limits for adults.

In the U.S, there are no government recommended limits for sugar but the American Heart Association recommends 9 teaspoons for men, 6 for women. Meanwhile, US lawmakers are trying to make information on sugar consumption much clearer.

On September 19, 2003, Congressman Frank Pallone, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senator Richard Blumenthal, held a press conference in Washington announcing the introduction of a bill that will improve food labeling. It’s called the Food Labelling Modernization Act of 2013.

The bill, if passed, will make clear on nutrition labels how much of the sugar content is added refined sugars and how much of it is from natural sugars.

The bill also pushes for less ‘deceptive’ food labeling.

‘You shouldn’t need the skills of a CIA code breaker to understand food labels,’ says the executive director of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Michael Jacobson.

The bill will ensure that all the different types of sugar in a product are listed in one bracket rather than being listed separately in the ingredient list.

‘You’d ask the FDA to do two things. One is the food label, separate out added sugars, the problem sugars, from the total sugars. And the second thing would be to set a daily value, or a daily value, or a daily limit, for added sugars. Say 20 grams, and then it would give the percentage of the 20 grams that’s in one serving of food,’ said Jacobson.

Despite repeated requests over several months, Health Canada declined to give the fifth estate an interview.

Proposed new label

The Center for Science in the Public Interest  has mocked up what that new label could look like seen above, versus the one currently in use. The highlighting has been added to show how sugars appear in each label.