(NaturalNews) A coalition of consumer advocacy groups, health organizations, and food and nutrition groups has officially called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enact new labeling requirements for foods that contain added sugars. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), the American Heart Association, and 12 other organizations all undersigned a recent letter petitioning the FDA to require that food labels differentiate between natural sugars and added, processed sugars like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
The petition appears to be specifically aimed at food products like fruit juices, children's cereals, and snacks that may contain natural, fruit-based sugars in addition to added sugars. Since current labeling requirements list all sugars in one generic category, shoppers are not privy to the actual amount of added sugars contained in the food products they buy, which makes it difficult for many to monitor their processed sugar intake.
"While current regulations stipulate what foods can be labeled 'No Sugar Added' or use a similar phrase, there is currently no requirement that added sugars be shown separately on the 'Ingredients List,'" wrote the group to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in a recent letter. "We recommend that FDA require that added sugars be listed on the ingredients section of food labels so that consumers can make healthier choices when they shop."
The letter, which is addressed specifically to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, notes that the American Heart Association (AHA), which is one of its under-signers, recommends that adult males consume less than 150 calories a day from processed sugars, and females less than 100 calories a day from processed sugars. In order to abide by these recommendations, consumers must have full disclosure of added sugar content in the foods they buy.
A 2011 study published in the AHA journal Circulation found that consumption of refined sugars is linked to raising bad cholesterol levels and causing heart disease. Even in young people, overconsumption of processed sugar often manifests itself in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular problems later in life (http://www.naturalnews.com/031322_sugars_heart_disease.html).
The best way to avoid processed sugars is to simply eat whole, organic fruits and vegetables, and to cook your meals at home using pure ingredients. But when purchasing juices, cereals, and other items from the store, be sure to seek out those specifically labeled as having no added sugars, or those that contain only unrefined added sugars like evaporated cane juice or raw honey.