This week the soon-to-come new nutrition labels were revealed to the public, and some big changes on the way. The updates are all focused on helping us better understand what we are getting into when making a purchase. One of most significant change is the way sugar is presented. Now, sugar content will have two lines. The top line will be “Sugars” which will give the total sugar content, followed by “Added Sugars” displaying the amount of sugar that is artificially added to the product. Guess what? A lot of big companies fought tooth and nail to keep this information from you.
The American Bakers Association, American Beverage Association, American Frozen Foods Institute, Corn Refiners Association, International Dairy Foods Association and National Confectioners Association all lobbied relentlessly to keep us from knowing how much sugar was being added to our foods. The milk industry showed particular zeal in keeping the truth from consumers. I guess Big Dairy does’t want us to know that they are artificially sweetening many common dairy products.
Notice that on the label we have all grown up with it doesn’t say how much sugar is recommended for daily intake, now it does. The American Heart Association daily recommended sugar intake for children is 16 grams (4 teaspoons), adult women 25 grams (6 teaspoons), and adult men 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons). America is in for a sugar intake wake-up call.
Check out the sugar content in commonly purchased food/drinks:
- Snapple Lemon Iced Tea: 36 grams
- Starbucks 16oz. (Medium) Caramel Frappuccino: 66 grams
- Dunkin Donuts Large Iced Coffee: 38 grams
- Chobani Strawberry/Banana Yogurt: 16 grams
- Ben & Jerry’s 1/4 pint Chocolate Fudge Brownie: 27 grams
- 8 oz. Tropicana No Pulp Orange Juice: 22 grams
- Shake Shack Chocolate Shake: 61 grams
Friends, this is the #1 reason why we are one of the world’s most obese nations. Our caloric intake has doubled in the last few decades, in line with the mass-marketing of corn syrup, but primarily because our sweet tooth has been systematically messed with by the food companies. Our brains have been wired to love sweet, regardless of the medium. If you go to the supermarket and take a peek, almost everything has sugar or corn syrup added. It’s in your juice, your milk, your pasta sauces, your sandwich meats, your sausages, your salad dressing, your ketchup. If you eat it, manufacturers have figured out a way to get sugar into it.
The new labels are a great step in the right direct. Companies have two years to put the new labels on their products, and some will move quicker than others. But the truth is coming, it’s inevitable. Let’s face it, we deserve to know how much sugar is being added after the fact to what we eat. Now a quick glance can tell us, “This one drink has twice the sugar I am supposed to eat in a whole day.” That’s important. Life is short, and it’s good to enjoy an indulge sometimes, but making informed decisions is about to get a whole lot easier. I give two thumbs up to the new nutrition labels.