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David Kessler, who was FDA commissioner when the first Nutrition Facts labels were unveiled in the early 1990s, said he thinks focusing on added sugars and calories will have a “demonstrative public health benefit.”

Kessler said the added sweetness, like added salt, drives overeating. And companies will adjust their recipes to get those numbers down.

“No food company wants products to look bad,” he said.

While some may ignore the panels, there’s evidence that more people are reading them in recent years as there has been a heightened interest in nutrition.

A USDA study released earlier this year said 42 percent of working adults used the panel always or most of the time in 2009 and 2010, up from 34 percent two years earlier. Older adults were more likely to use it.