Translation and Implementation of Added Sugars Consumption Recommendations
A Conference Report From the American Heart Association Added Sugars Conference 2010
Background—A 2-day forum was convened to (1) discuss ways to translate the 2009 American Heart Association added sugars recommendations into actions in areas such as regulation, food labeling, nutrient content claims, and practical application in the American diet; (2) review surveillance methodology and metrics for tracking and understanding the impact of reducing added sugars in the diet; and (3) initiate the development of a framework for future collaboration to help Americans implement science-based guidance relative to added sugars.
Methods and Results—More than 100 multinational participants representing scientists from academia and government and stakeholders engaged in food production, development, and processing, food manufacturing and servicing, food and nutrition policy, and nutrition recommendations for the public attended the conference. Presentations included definitions and examples of added sugars, current US and international added sugars perspectives, added sugars in diets of individuals and in the food supply, food technology behind added sugars, added sugars and health, food manufacturer perspectives, added sugars food-labeling considerations, and examples of positive approaches to improve eating behaviors and the food environment. Facilitated breakout sessions were conducted after the plenary sessions to allow participants to contribute their expertise and thoughts.
Conclusion—The American Heart Association Added Sugars Conference is the first step in an important process that facilitates collaboration across science, public health, and industry to foster innovation, partnerships, policy, and implementation of new products and services for the benefit of the health and well-being of the American public. Science has advanced in the area of added sugars and health, creating mounting pressure to use better methods for translation and dissemination of the science for consumer education and for food companies to respond by producing foods and beverages with fewer added sugars. The new science also reinforces the importance of preventing, rather than simply treating diseases, especially overweight and obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Reducing added sugars consumption is a good target for addressing obesity, along with other sources of excess calories. However, the potential unintended consequences of substituting added sugars with ingredients that may not reduce calories and of increasing other macronutrients or food groups that may not result in a net health gain must be considered. Although there are many challenges to incorporating added sugars to the food label as was discussed during the conference, disclosure of added sugars content on food and beverage labels is an essential element in consumer education and can provide the information and motivation for making healthier food choices. This conference demonstrated the value of interactive dialogue among multiple sectors and disciplines. More disciplines should be at the table to bring expertise to discuss cross-cutting issues related to public policies and offer diverse insights to finding a solution.
- © 2010 American Heart Association, Inc.