I am sure by now you must have heard what happened to sugar. Last week the federal government released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). This document, published every 5 years, helps inform and shape the fed’s ideas on topics of interest in diet, nutrition, and health. The new kid in class so to speak, for this round of DGAs is the recommendation that added sugars be limited to less than 10% of your total calories for the day. This is big news.

Added sugars are the sugar sweeteners and syrups added to foods to provide a sweet taste and inevitably calories. What they don’t add is nutrients. The World Health Organization (WHO) made a similar recommendation in March 2015. Exempt from the 10 percent are the natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy. A growing body of research is finding that we eat way too much foods with added sugars which contribute unnecessary calories to our daily diet and may increase our chance of developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, and a host of other diet and lifestyle diseases.

ShopWell has added a % DV (daily value) for sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel in the app. You can even personalize the nutrition facts panel to determine your personal daily calorie needs and what the 10% recommendation might mean for you. Pretty cool, right? Right now this percentage is for total sugars, not added sugars, since that has not yet been required to be listed on the food labels. Many packaged foods have added sugars, along with added salt, to achieve the desired taste profile that’ll keep you coming back to buy more. Use the ShopWell app to scan a product’s bar code, look for sources or added sugar in the Ingredient List, and you'll have a better idea of how much sugar is in your diet. Fruits, vegetables, and unsweetened dairy (think milk and plain yogurt) naturally contain sugars but are not included as part of the 10% ruling. These food groups are loaded with fiber and good-for-nutrients so eat more of them. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still has to decide if they are going to require added sugars to be specifically called out on the nutrition facts panel, but ShopWell is giving you a head start on making better food choices by giving you an idea of sugar in your diet.

If you haven’t personalized the nutrition facts panel in the app there is no time like the present! You can also download the free app from the App Store or the Google Play Store.