# Sugar: Do the Math

Sugar can be confusing to your students or clients.

They hear lots of different numbers … percent of calories from sugar, teaspoons of sugar, and grams of sugar.

They see lots of terms … natural sugar, added sugar, and other names for sugar.

They’re bombarded with misinformation … “I can’t eat fruit because it has sugar!” “Honey is natural so it’s healthier than sugar.”

Clear up the sugar confusion once and for all with our Sugar Math PowerPoint show that comes with speaker’s notes, handouts, and clipart.

Your audience will learn how to do the math when it comes to sugar:

• How to calculate sugar limits by calorie intake
• How to find added sugars on the Nutrition Facts panel
• How to translate grams of sugar to teaspoons of sugar
• How to tally up their daily sugar intake

And they’ll learn about:

• Foods and beverages that are high in added sugars
• How to spot hidden sugars
• Simple swaps to lower sugar intake
• Why cutting down on sugar is important to health

If you want to do it yourself, why not visit the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and show how the limit for refined sugar is 10% of calories per day?

Discussion points: what is refined sugar, and what is 10% of calories per day for most people? Look at a few popular food labels and discuss how these foods can fit. Ask the audience what they would do on 10% calorie budget for their sugar intake. Do beverages make sense?

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

PDF Handout: Sugar Math

# Quick & Easy Ideas for National Nutrition Month

Did National Nutrition Month (NNM) sneak up on you this year?

Don’t worry! Here’s a quick and easy guide to NNM, including resources (some free!) you can use with messaging from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

Week 1: Eat a variety of nutritious foods.

• Learn to read food labels.
• Include healthful foods from all food groups.
• Incorporate your favorite cultural foods and traditions.

Resources:

Week 2: See a registered dietitian.

• Ask your doctor for a referral to an RDN.
• Find an RDN who specializes in your unique needs.
• Receive personalized information to meet your health goals.

Resources:

Week 3: Plan your meals and snacks.

• Choose healthful recipes to make during the week.
• Use a grocery list to shop for nutritious food.
• Make healthful food and drink choices when away from home.

Resources:

Week 4: Create tasty foods at home.

• Learn cooking and meal prep skills.
• Try new flavors and foods from around the world.
• Enjoy your meals with friends or family, when possible.

Resources:

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

# Stick to the Message on Added Sugar

As we await the release of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, this is a good time to review key parts of the 2015 guidelines that aren’t likely to change much. One of these topics is added sugar.

Specific sugar intake recommendations were included in the Dietary Guidelines for the first time in 2015 (whereas in years earlier they only recommended avoiding consuming too much sugar or moderate intake of sugar). The message: consume no more than 10% of daily calories from added sugar.

Sugar continues to be a hot issue. When the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee last met on March 12-13 (source), subcommittees presented their DRAFT conclusion statements. Here are a few related to added sugars:

• Mean intakes of added sugar have significantly decreased over time, but remain high across age, sex, race-ethnic and income.
• There is a notable increase in the intake of added sugars when 1-year-olds are compared with babies less than 12 months of age.
• Nearly 70% of added sugars come from five food categories: sweetened beverages, desserts & sweet snacks, coffee & tea (with their additions), candy & sugars, and breakfast cereals & bars.
• A large percentage of daily sugar intake comes from beverage consumption: 30% for young children, 50% for adolescents, and 60% for adults.
• The top beverage sources of added sugars: regular soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports/energy drinks, smoothies, and coffee and tea with added sugars.

So what messages about sugar do we need to keep sharing?

1. Clear up sugar confusion. Consumers may not get it — ‘Doesn’t milk have sugar?! Fruit has sugar!’ But when it comes to sugar, ‘added’ is the key word. Don’t worry about the naturally occurring sugar in REAL food when there’s so much added sugar in PROCESSED food.
2. The new Nutrition Facts label is key! We no longer have to arm our clients with long lists of ingredients that actually mean sugar. Added sugar is now on the label – we just need to remind folks to look for it. See our New Food Label materials for ideas on how to do this.
3. To understand the food label, you have to understand Sugar Math. Teach clients and students how to get from “10% of daily calories” to the grams of sugar shown on the new Nutrition Facts panel.
4. Beverages matter. Choosing water and sugar-free drinks can make a big difference in your sugar intake. We have lots of materials on this — a favorite being Are You Drinking Candy?
5. Switch to fruit for dessert. This is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth without a lot of sugar. We even have a Fruit Tooth Dessert Cookbook!
6. Start early for a lifelong low sugar habit. We want to be raising sugar-free kids who eat real food. Parents, grandparents, and childcare providers need our help. Check out our 0 to 5 Baby and Toddler Nutrition PowerPoint show.
7. There’s no room for added sugar with MyPlate! Use resources from ChooseMyPlate.gov or see all the materials we have.

# Nutrition Facts for Everyone

The Nutrition Facts label is a valuable tool, but many people don’t use it. Maybe they’re in a hurry and don’t take time to read it. Or maybe they see a bunch of numbers and unfamiliar terms and turn the package right back over.

Tufts Researchers estimate that the new food label, showing added sugars, could save up to \$31 billion dollars in health care expenses over 20 years. The amount saved for societal costs is about double that amount.

Our Food Label theme has lots of options for helping your clients make sense of the Nutrition Facts panel. A good place to start – our simple Food Label handouts, poster, and banner. This version breaks it all down to the basics, making the Nutrition Facts label easier for everyone to understand and use.

Take a look at our simple Food Label Handout Tearpad. One side has an easy-to-read Nutrition Facts panel with three basic tips on how to read it:

• Step 1 is to Count Calories – check the serving size, calories per serving, and number of servings per package.
• Step 2 is to Check These for Heart Health – choose foods that are lower in saturated fat and sodium; keep trans fat to zero.
• Step 3 is to ask Is This Nutritionally Valuable? – select foods that are nutrient dense and a good source of fiber.

The other side is a very handy MyPlate Healthy Shopping List featuring healthy choices:

• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Lean protein
• Whole grains
• Low fat and low sugar dairy products
• Other foods (like condiments and seasonings)

As you are shopping, why not create a small bookshelf of interesting packages that have good lessons? Some examples include bottles of beverages that look like one serving but are 3. Or healthful sounding rice mix packages that have a full day’s supply of sodium in a small 160 calorie serving. Or the soup that says reduced sodium that is still high in sodium for the calories it contains? And of course there is the “all natural food” that is filled with saturated fat. I am sure you have a lot of examples. These can make great ice breakers for classes, counseling sessions, and health fairs. And it can make for a fun, find the best label contest if you offer a variety of choices for the same food like a tomato soup or can of beans or packages of frozen entrees.

These handouts are the perfect start to learning to shop for healthier food. If you want a more in-depth approach, check out our Food Label Math banner, poster, and tearpad.

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD

Get 15% off all food label education items this week only by using this link.

References:

2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141104141731.htm

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# Food News: 3 New Labels for Packaged Foods

While there are multiple ways to purchase groceries, consumers still need time to make a list and then read and decipher food labels. With nearly 20,000 new products hitting the shelves annually, you almost need a PhD in nutrition to understand some of the information on those labels.

Today I want to talk about some new front-of-the-package symbols, which may make shopping life a little bit easier. These are non-government, third-party-authorized seals that quickly let people know if a product meets certain standards.

A few earlier labels of this type include Nuval and Facts up Front. Nuval started in 2008 and was a collaborative effort between Topco Associates, LLC, and Griffin Hospital of Derby, Connecticut. Griffin Hospital is a non-profit community hospital and houses the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. Nutrition professionals and medical experts, including Dr. David Katz, assisted in the development of Nuval. Its system assigns a nutrition score to foods to make it easier for consumers to quickly choose healthful options. With Nuval, the higher the score, the higher the nutritional value of the food.

Facts Up Front is another system that was developed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association. It is a voluntary program that shows the calories, grams of saturated fat, sugar, and sodium in a serving of food on the front of its package. Labels also may display additional information, including fiber and calcium content. Facts Up Front are based on nutrition science and are taken right from the Nutrition Facts label.

Logos like the American Heart Association’s Heart Check Mark on packaged foods and the Certified Humane Seal on eggs, meat, and dairy are meant to help consumers navigate the grocery store with ease and to encourage companies to develop products that meet the desired standards. Standards for the AHA heart check mark include foods with less than 6.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, less than 0.5 grams of trans fat, 20 mg of cholesterol or less, and varying amounts of sodium allowed depending on the product.

Three new food label stamps that will help to improve the nutrition profile of food that makes it to the store and help shoppers make better choices are coming soon, so I’d like to take a closer look at each one so that you and your clients know what’s coming.

The first is the Good Housekeeping “Nutritionist Approved” emblem. Items that are granted this seal have been given the green light by Jacylyn London, the registered dietitian who developed the program. London, the nutrition director of the Good Housekeeping Institute, evaluates products that have applied for the seal to be sure they are aligned with the 2015-2020 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition, the product must comply with the companies’ core values of simplicity (makes is simpler for consumer to keep a healthful habit and/or has simple ingredients and fewer additives than their counterparts), transparency (contains accurate claims on products that are not misleading to consumers) and innovation (utilizes current technologies to make healthier habits simpler for consumers and/or boost sustainability).

To receive the stamp, a product does not need to be 100% healthful, but does need to be a wise choice in a particular category. You may see the seal on bagged salad or a low-fat frozen dinner as well as a mini dark chocolate candy. The program not only alerts consumers of healthier choices, it also incentivizes the company to produce and market improved products. Companies pay a licensing fee for the seal, which includes consulting fees. The Nutritionist Approved seal started in October 2016 with nine brands and is growing quickly. In the long-term, the hope is to expand it for use in airports, restaurants, and movie theaters.

Another stamp that will be hitting the shelves soon was developed by Carolyn Sluyter of Oldways. Sluyter is the manager of the Whole Grain Stamp Program. The new stamp is the 50% whole grain stamp, which was developed to complement two other stamps- the “100% Whole Grain” stamp and the general “Whole Grain” stamp. The former is self-explanatory, and the latter can be used on foods that are made with some whole grains, specifically 20 grams or more per serving. These new stamps make it easier for consumers to identify foods made with whole grains.

The third stamp, Certified Transitional, is a new stamp that may be used by farmers to reflect that they are in the process of becoming certified organic. Many farmers cannot afford the 3-year transition it requires to become certified organic. Developed by Kashi after they were unable to source organic almonds for their cereal, the program means to support farmers in the transition period, which would assist shoppers to directly affect US organic agriculture. Although Kashi is the only brand with this seal, it can be utilized by any company managed by Quality Assurance International, an independent third-party certifying agency. During the transitional period, farmers are paid a premium price for their organic products, in turn provides financial support. Nicole Nestojko, senior director of supply chain and sustainability at Kashi, believes that Certified Transitional is more than just a stamp, it is a movement to alter the food system.

By Lisa Andrews, MED, RD, LD

References:

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# Display of the Month: New Food Label

It’s time for another display of the month, and this one is all about the new format of the Nutrition Facts label. Did you know that these new labels are already hitting stores? Help your clients use the new food labels to improve their eating patterns by inspiring them with this great display…

The Materials:

The Activities:

• The Label Says: Nutrition Facts Label Game
• Food Label Comparison: What a Difference a Label Makes

#### Nutrition Facts Label Poster - New Food Label Poster

\$22.75 \$25.50

The Display:

Instead of setting up a tabletop display as we’ve done in the past, this month’s display can be arranged on a bulletin board or a spare space on any wall. If you’d like to adapt it to a tabletop display, you absolutely can, and you’ll probably need a few of these fabulous Tabletop Easels to ease the transition.

Anyway, make either or both of the New Food Label Posters or Food Label Math Posters the center of your display (if you have more room, you can also use the 48-inch by 36-inch Nutrition Facts Banner). Surround your poster or banner with stickers and bookmarks so that the whole display looks like a sunburst with the posters or banner in the middle.

Either tear off a few handouts from the Nutrition Facts Tearpad or mount the whole thing to the wall just to the right of your sunbursts so that interested parties can take a sheet home for themselves. Balance the handouts on the other side with the 26-inch by 62-inch Food Label Banner and Stand. Arrange the Nutrition Facts Floor Sticker in front of your display for an extra-intriguing draw to your information, then step back and admire the view.

#### Food Label Math Poster

\$22.75 \$25.50

To play The Label Says: Nutrition Facts Label Game, you’ll need a projector, a screen, and a copy of the The Label Says: Nutrition Facts Label PowerPoint presentation. Everything else you need is built into the presentation itself, so as long as you review it before you start presenting, you’ll simply need to turn it on and work your way through the slides. In this game, participants will evaluate a food based on information from its Nutrition Facts label, learning common label-reading mistakes and exploring healthful eating pattern strategies along the way. The I Know How to Read a Food Label Stickers and New Food Label Bookmarks make great prizes and incentives!

For the second activity, Food Label Comparison: What a Difference a Label Makes, you’ll need to do a bit more legwork. Bring in a few varieties of the same foods (3 fruit juices, 3 cans of beans, etc) that each have different Nutrition Facts. Compare across the types of foods and find the most healthful options as a group. What parts of the label were the most useful? Why? Use this activity to highlight the impact of reading a food label on health, explaining that the new Nutrition Facts label is a helpful tool for developing and maintaining a healthful eating pattern.

#### New Food Label Handout Tearpad

\$42.00 \$46.00

Other Fantastic Display Ideas:

We’ve been putting together these display posts for a while now, so there’s lots of inspiration available for a wide range of health and nutrition topics. Which ones will be the most useful for you?

Here’s a closer look at some of the top new food label resources that my team and I have created…

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# Nutrition at a Glance

Here’s a fun new way to help your clients learn and remember key nutrition lessons.

A brand-new poster!

Everyone gets so confused about how to eat healthfully. In today’s society, proper nutrition comes from following MyPlate, reading food labels, and eating the best options from each of the food groups. The Nutrition at a Glance poster shows key nutrition lessons in three easy steps. Plus, each step has an exciting visual of food!

• Step 1: Let macronutrients put their best food forward! Think lean, high fiber, and nutrient dense!
• Step 2: Get your vitamins and minerals from food! Follow MyPlate and get a varied diet with all of the food groups.
• Step 3: Learn how to read food labels so you can make the best choices that are lower in added fat, sugar, and salt (sodium).

This poster makes a fun visual for any room or event! It is even perfect for Nutrition Month celebrations!

To celebrate this fun new resource, I want to give you the handout that comes with it, for free!

Here you go!

Let’s Talk Nutrients:

There are 3 different types of macronutrients — the nutrients in your eating pattern that make up the bulk of what you consume each day. Those 3 macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and protein.

Protein is important for the creation and maintenance of your bones, skin, and muscles. Carbohydrates are the source of most of your energy. Fat helps your body absorb nutrients and also provides energy.

Choose high-fiber carbohydrates, lean protein, and heart-healthy fats (you can find them in plants and fish). This will help you get the 3 major macronutrients from healthful food sources.

Get Your Vitamins and Minerals from Food:

Balance your meals using MyPlate and its 5 food groups: vegetables, fruit, protein, grains, and dairy.

That way, you will eat a varied diet with adequate nutrients in the calories allotted.

Avoid Extra Processed Food Dangers by Reading Food Labels:

Added sugars, excess sodium, and both trans and saturated fat have been linked to elevated risk of chronic disease.

Minimizing these will help you keep your body in tip-top shape!

Here’s a printable PDF copy of the handout!

And here are a few fun nutrition resources from the Nutrition Education Store!

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# New Nutrition Facts Label Display

There are lots of brand-new resources to help you teach your clients all about how to use the brand-new, just-released-this-week Nutrition Facts label! Here is a fun way to turn these materials into an educational display that will communicate key messages to your audience.

• Combine this new Nutrition Facts Poster with an Educational Handout in a bulletin board display. This is a great way to decorate your office or classroom with timely and educational materials. You could also put the poster onto a Tabletop Easel at your next wellness fair booth.
• The new Nutrition Facts Poster has a list of activities you can do with the food label in order to help consumers practice their newly gained knowledge.
• Speaking of wellness fair booths, this 48″ by 36″ Nutrition Label Vinyl Banner would be a great way to add a pop of color and key lessons to the front of your table. Or you could try the matching Banner and Stand as a way to communicate this vital information. Make the entrance more dramatic to your wellness fair display with a food label floor sticker!
• These colorful and creative Nutrition Facts Stickers and Nutrition Facts Bookmarks offer a fun way to teach your audience about the new label in a less formal setting. With memorable information presented in a bright and engaging way, these resources are so much more than just pretty prizes.
• You can combine all of the materials above into a fantastic display, which you can use at health and wellness fairs or as decoration in places like break rooms and cafeterias.

If you’d like to do an interactive activity, these resources can help you too! For example, you could have people bring in the Nutrition Facts label for one of their favorite foods. While the changes won’t be required until 2018, manufacturers will be rolling out the new labels and your participants will be reading both styles in the store so a variety is welcome. Distribute the Nutrition Facts Handout or put up a copy of the Nutrition Facts Poster or Vinyl Banner and have people write down how the information from their panel would be presented in the new panel. What information is missing? How could those details inform healthful choices? What information is more prominent on the new label? How might that affect their assessment of the food? Discuss their impressions, offering Nutrition Facts Stickers and Nutrition Facts Bookmarks as prizes for participation or insight.

View the New Food Label Poster, banners, tearpad handouts, bookmark, stickers and more here: