Labeling Added Sugars to Save Lives and Money
The food industry has always opposed labeling regulations that could impact sales. It took years for trans-fats content to be mandated on food labels; once they were, the food industry stopped using trans-fats, and public health won. Will the same happen in 2020, when the FDA's new food labeling regulations will come into effect, requiring the disclosure of added sugars?
As a reminder, sugars in a food can come from both natural and added sources. For example, a yogurt can have sugar from lactose and berries, but also added sugars from table sugar. Current labels require the listing of total sugars, not their source. The new labels will require a statement of both total sugars and added sugars.
In a recently published study, scientists estimate that providing information about added sugars on food products, especially beverages, "could generate substantial health gains and cost savings for the US population" over the course of the next 2 decades.
How much savings?$31 Billion! over 350,000 cases of heart disease can be avoidedalmost 600,000 cases of type 2 diabetes.All this just from labeling added sugars. Imagine if companies actually start reducing the amount of sugar in products? The benefits would further increase.
You know what else would save lives?
Labeling added sugars using teaspoons as the unit of measurement instead of grams. Most people have no clue that the 39 grams of sugar in a can of cola are the equivalent of nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar!
While FDA's regulations work at a population level, you have the power to improve the health of your family and yourself. Cut out sugary beverages and use the money saved ($400 a year for a family of 4) to buy fresh veggies and fruits.