I've been wondering recently why Sugar is seemingly not regulated in the US, despite there being research which links sugar consumption to a host of medical issues from diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver disease.

Have there been any notable attempts to actually set limits on sugar intake or any regulation in general?


The only thing I have been able to find so far relates to the labeling of sugar on products: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=101.60

I am also aware of the controversial sugar tax in New York.

  • Somewhat related politics.stackexchange.com/questions/31411/…
    – Alexei
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 14:22
  • 7
    As you should know, the purpose of Politics Stack Exchange is not to convince others of our opinions. About 80% of this question was just used to convince the reader that sugar is bad. But that's not really relevant to the political question whether or not there are notable attempts at regulating sugar, unless the actual goal of the question were to convince the audience that it should be. I therefore removed most of this question in order to focus it on the actual political question we can answer.
    – Philipp
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 14:43
  • @Philipp that's fine it's more so to remove any comments of people that would ask why it should be regulated and may have an adverse reaction. Thus the preamble on my view and why I am asking to dissuade negative feedback. But let's see how it goes
    – SCFi
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 14:45
  • 2
    @SCFi In my experience, adding arguments to a question usually achieves the opposite effect: Provoking those who disagree with the implied political demand to dig out their counter-arguments and start a lenghty comment debate which quickly turns dirty.
    – Philipp
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 14:47
  • 2
    Would Bloomberg's attempts to restrict soda cup size count?
    – puppetsock
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


There are 2 bills and one FDA regulation that I have found concerning sugar

The FDA regulation 2019

  1. This regulation aims to get rid of misleading verbiage
  2. Aims to standardize verbiage around sugar
  3. Differentiates between Sugar and sugars added from external sources such as flavoring.

Added sugars are viewed as unhealthy and thus the distinction. It does more but these were what stuck out to me

There have been 2 congressional bills introduced

  1. Incorporated into a 2019 medicare for all bill by Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. This bill would add a tax to sugary drinks. Currently in sub committee. This tax is aimed to aid in fund the medicare for all. In the bill it is said that this is due to negative impact it, high fructose corn syrup also refereed to as sugar in the bill, has on health.

  2. A tax in 2015 that proposed a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages introduced again by Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. This bill had apparently died in sub-committee. The aim of this bill is to tax sweetened beverages in order to fund diet related medical conditions.

Honorable mention

While debating a reauthorization of a child's health insurance bill, Mr Coburn, as addressed by the document, says

So if we want to do and mandate oral health care in this bill, why don't we put a limitation on the high-fructose corn syrup products and high-glucose products that are the No. 1 cause of the dental caries the kids are having? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But we didn't do that.

Added as it does indicate a type of recognition of a perceived issue around the subject.

I am trying to find the archives for the FDA to search their historical regulations, tentatively this is all I've found.


The only effort to control sugar that I am aware of are abortive attempts to limit specific items, such as Bloomberg's effort to cap soda sizes in New York. There have also bee a few cities in the US that have imposed a tax on sweetened drinks: a typical 'sin tax' meant to drive down consumption while providing local revenue.

The difficulty with anti-sugar legislation is that sugar is not in-and-of-itself harmful, addictive, or toxic. The damaging effects of sugar come from long-term excessive use, but that falls squarely in the category of individual free choice. The US has always resisted restrictions on personal behavior, on the ideal that legislation should not be a substitute for willpower or common sense. Whether that's a wise resistance is a matter for debate, obviously.

  • I believe that sin tax would be an applicable term for the two bills that I added below. I appreciate your take on it.
    – SCFi
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 17:20

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