Nutrition Labeling

Dietary Fiber

As part of its suggested changes on nutrition labeling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revised its definition for dietary fiber. The Agency classified fewer ingredients as dietary fiber, but made clear it would undertake a scientific review of 25 additional ingredients to determine their proper classification. In June 2018, FDA announced their intent to permit the use of eight additional dietary fiber ingredients under their revised definition of dietary fiber. These additional ingredients include: arabinoxylan, alginate, galactooligosaccharide, high amylose starch (resistant 2 starch), inulin and inulin-type fructans, mixed plant cell wall fibers, polydextrose, and resistant maltodextrin/dextrin. Alongside the announcement, FDA Commissioner Gottlieb noted that FDA is “taking a flexible approach to dietary fiber, allowing for the possibility of additional fibers to be added to the list of those meeting our dietary fiber definition if the scientific evidence shows they are physiologically beneficial.”

Along with revising the definition for dietary fiber, the FDA also increased the Daily Reference Value (DRV) for dietary fiber from 25 grams to 28 grams. The DRV is used to calculate % Daily Values seen on Nutrition and Supplement labels. However, many Americans already struggle to consume the recommended amount of dietary fiber each day. The decision by the FDA to reclassify and reduce the number of permitted dietary fibers has the potential to increase this fiber gap. CRA is hopeful that the recognition of additional dietary fiber ingredients will assist consumers in reaching their dietary fiber goals.

Added Sugars

 The FDA has mandated the labeling of added sugars on products – even as added sugars as a percentage of total calories continues to decline in the average American’s diet. Additionally, the consensus of U.S. scientific evidence finds that calories from sugars – whether added or naturally-occurring – are the same when it comes to the number of calories they contain, the way the body metabolizes them, and their contribution to body weight compared to other sources of calories. Therefore, CRA believes that singling out added sugars amongst complex dietary patterns does not have a meaningful impact and, instead, it is more relevant to look at total sugars and carbohydrates as related to overall dietary patterns.

Of course, CRA recognizes that many Americans need to reduce their total intake of calories, including calories from sugars and sweeteners, thus CRA does not promote increased consumption of sugars or other caloric sources.