Can sugary products be described as ‘nutritious’? And how

Can sugary products be described as ‘nutritious’? And how

The FDA – which has set a daily reference value of 50g for added sugar (10% of calories based on a 2,000-calorie diet) – does not define ‘high’ or ‘low’ sugar, and only sets conditions of use for ‘reduced/less/lower sugar’ claims​​.

But while there is no specific regulation that disqualifies food brands from implying or stating that products are healthy or nutritious based on sugar content, plaintiffs in a series of cases filed vs Clif, Mondelez, Kellogg, Post, and others, say consumers are being duped.

In the case vs Clif bar, for example, the plaintiffs claimed that many consumers would be shocked to learn that a quarter to a third of calories in classic Clif bars were derived from added sugar.

For example, a 260 calorie bar with 19g added sugar (29% of calories) contains 38% of the 50g daily value for added sugar, or 76% of the World Health Organization’s ‘ideal’ daily limit of 25g.

Clif Bar: ‘A reasonable consumer would know that the challenged products contained added sugars, and that the added sugars were part of the promise of energy​’

Attorneys for Clif Bar, however, argued that the lawsuit was “based on factually unsupported conclusions that Clif Bar products are ‘high-sugar,’ a term not defined by FDA, and on speculative concerns about the long-term health risks of excessive added sugars.”​​

It also featured a “compendium of irrelevant and immaterial scientific reports​​” about the effects of excessive consumption of sugary soda designed to “distract the court​​,” added Clif’s attorneys, who noted that Clif bars were not soda, but “solid foods that also contain proteins, fiber, and other complex carbohydrates.”​​