"Low-Sugar, Low-Calorie" Donut?

A metropolitan area newspaper announced that a major donut maker is developing a “low sugar” donut. The article also described it as a “low calorie” donut.

First of all, there is no such thing as “low-sugar” anything because the term has no definition and is not authorized for use in labeling or advertising of food products in the U.S. The only claims allowed relating to sugar content are “sugar-free”, which may be used for products that contain less than 0.5 g sugars per serving, and “reduced/less sugar”, which may be used for products with at least 25% less sugars than an appropriate reference food (e.g., the manufacturer’s original recipe).

“Low calorie” is an entirely different term, and does not apply to all sugar-free or reduced-sugar foods (in fact, most are not). Such products generally may not contain more than 40 calories per reference amount (standard, defined serving). For a baked good, such as a donut, with most of its calories coming from fat (regardless of sugar content), this low of a caloric level is virtually impossible to attain.

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