Originally published March 20 2015
Junk food industry fights against consumers' right to know about added sugars in foods
by Amy Goodrich
(NaturalNews) Around 20 years ago, food labels were introduced to help Americans consume a healthier and more nutritious diet. Recently, the FDA looked at these labels and came up with a list of possible changes, which they felt were necessary to meet the needs of the American public and create more transparency regarding food.
Among these proposals, two are causing a lot of fuss throughout the whole junk food world. The FDA proposed to break the sugar level up into natural sugars and added sugars, and make the serving sizes better understandable.
At the moment, nutrition labels list the total amount of sugar, meaning naturally occurring sugars -- found in fruits -- combined with sugars that companies add after a product is made. A whopping 80 percent of all items found in grocery stores contain these added or hidden sugars.
While the American Heart Association recommends that women shouldn't consume more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars a day and men no more than 9, most Americans consume more than 22 teaspoons a day.
Why are these added sugars bad?Experts throughout the '80s and '90s blamed dietary fats for causing obesity, diabetes and higher rates of cardiovascular diseases. These days, however, doctors and nutritionist finally admit that they have been wrong. They came to the realization that not fat but sugar is the true enemy.
While our body needs sugar to feed our muscles and brain, when eaten in excess, these sugar molecules are converted into fat. This will not only cause obesity, but increases the risk of many dangerous diseases such as heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
Natural and added sugars generally both contain the same molecules, glucose and fructose, but they are not quite the same thing. Natural sugars come in a healthy package. They add fibers, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and many other beneficial plant nutrients to your diet. Added sugars are just empty calories which will not give you any extra nutritional benefit.
Junk food industry goes madNext to adding the amount of added sugars, the FDA also wants to make it easier to understand the nutritional labels, which are often confusing for the public. While we all know, or can form an image in our head, how much 10 teaspoons of sugar in one can is, labels often state the amounts in grams, and they don't reflect the actual amount in the entire product.
The thought of making people actually realize how many spoons of added sugars or sugars-in-disguise, like high-fructose corn syrup, they put in their mouths, scares the food industry.
The FDA has received around 290,000 public comments and complaint letters. Many of these came from major food companies like Coca-Cola, Campbell Soup Company, Kellogg Co., Roman Meal Co. and the whole cranberry industry to name a few. Some came from governors, and the Australian government also raised its voice, stating that trade agreements may be at risk.
That's how big the concern and fear is.
One line will make a difference"That one line on a label seems like a small thing. But not having it covers up a very big fact that the food industry does not want people to know," said Deborah Bailin, an analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, in the LA Times.
With the growing community of health-conscious people, companies fear seeing their profit margins drop, as people are going to opt out of high-sugar foods, which are hiding in every corner of the food supply. From fruit juices and sodas to baked goods, dairy and pre-made meals. They even found sugar in turkey!
The added sugar label war is far from over. Let's hope that they look past the heaps of money. Let's hope that, just for once, they start to think about our health and happiness, and make these revised food labels happen. They still won't tell the whole story, but at least it is a step in the right direction.
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