“In a time of destruction, create something.”You may be feeling overwhelmed or helpless; we understand that feeling. But without your support, this movement will not keep moving.
-Maxine Hong Kingston
The FDA has proposed labeling "added sugars" on food. Above, the Nutrition Facts label on the side of a cereal box. (J. David Ake / Associated Press)
Sugar in food is poorly labeled, and the industry likes it that way
A wild animal is never more dangerous than when it is cornered. And Big Sugar is lashing out with all the sweet venom it can muster in response to the latest attacks on the iniquities of the American diet. These attacks are now seemingly coming from all directions.
The FDA's problematic push for an added-sugar label on food
Scientists have now demonstrated not just correlation, but causation for sugar and diabetes,fatty liver disease, heart disease and tooth decay. Investment banks Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley have weighed in on the effects of the detriments of excess sugar consumption on healthcare costs, economic productivity and the global economy.
1) Taxing unhealthy products;
2) Regulating foods high in saturated fats, salt and sugar;
3) Cracking down on junk food advertising;
4) Overhauling misguided agricultural subsidies that make certain ingredients cheaper than others; and
5) Supporting local food production so that consumers have access to healthy, fresh and nutritious foods
Using the tools and information on our website, plus our external resources, it is important to educate yourself about the current state of our food system.
Know your sugar! Here are the 56 names for sugar.
Currently, the U.S. government does not require food manufacturers to quantify added sugar on food and beverage labels - only total sugar.
Currently, the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is recommending new guidelines which would recommend limiting added sugar consumption to no more than 10% of total calories for adults, in alignment with the American Heart Association recommendation.
- Here is a good summary of these new recommendations.
- The World Health Organization also recommends limiting added sugar to 10% of total calories and encourages more conservative 5% of total calories for additional health benefits.
By Dr. Robert H. Lustig
I like dessert; most of us do. The problem is we are eating dessert for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and we drink dessert all day long.
Sugar used to be a condiment; but now it’s a diet staple. Soda, juice, sweetened coconut water, sweetened teas, Frappuccinos —these are all desserts. Foods with added sugar are dessert if any form of sugar is one of the first three ingredients. Granola is dessert. Fruit-flavored yogurt is dessert. Chinese chicken salad is dessert. We, and especially our kids, are eating and drinking dessert all day long. While dessert captivates our brain’s “reward center”, it is creating a tidal wave of chronic diseases – diseases so nefarious and insidious that our healthcare system is not prepared for the flood of children with Type 2 diabetes and liver disease, who will be sick for decades and are already clogging up our healthcare system. And we know that the added sugar in food stimulates the “reward center” of the brain, similar to drugs of abuse; which of course is why the food industry puts it there, to get you to buy more. Tell a cocaine addict to lay off their drug of choice — see how far that gets you. About as far as telling a kid to cut the cookies.
Unfortunately, sugar is not always conveniently labeled as "sugar" in the ingredients list. The food industry has discovered new ways to hide the amount of added sugar in their products by disguising them as different names that don't seem so bad. Brown rice is healthy so that means brown rice syrup is too, right?
Dr. Lustig's book Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper's Guide is enlightening for those who may not realize the extent that sugar is added to our food products.
Fifty-six names for sugar:
- Agave nectar*
- Barbados sugar*
- Barley malt
- Beet sugar*
- Blackstrap molasses*
- Brown rice syrup*
- Brown sugar*
- Buttered syrup*
- Cane juice crystals*
- Cane sugar*
- Carob syrup*
- Castor sugar*
- Confectioner’s sugar*
- Corn syrup
- Corn syrup solids
- Crystalline fructose*
- Date sugar*
- Demerara sugar*
- Diastatic malt
- Ethyl maltol
- Evaporated cane juice*
- Florida crystals*
- Fruit juice*
- Fruit juice concentrate*
- Glucose solids
- Golden sugar*
- Golden syrup*
- Grape sugar*
- High-fructose corn syrup*
- Icing sugar*
- Invert sugar*
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup*
- Muscovado sugar*
- Organic raw sugar*
- Raw sugar*
- Refiner’s syrup*
- Rice syrup
- Sorghum syrup*
- Turbinado sugar*
- Yellow sugar*
If you haven't heard, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' "Kids Eat Right" foundation logo has landed on a Kraft product that most of us do not consider healthy. Here at the IRN we are tired of Big Food tricking consumers into thinking their products are healthy. Although signing this petition is far from changing the food system, it is an important step in publicizing the conflict of interests that exist between the food industry and the health organizations that we should be able to trust. Let's #RepealTheSeal!
Mayor and Vice Mayor of Concord Support Mount Diablo High School Student Delegation to Washington D.C.
It Takes A Community To Change A Food System: Click here to learn more about the students' visit to Washington, D.C.
"More than 38,000 local governments — counties, cities, villages, towns and townships — exist in the United States, and their operations impact the lives of more than 319m Americans on a daily basis. These entities are entrusted with a broad set of responsibilities: They ensure public safety; they regulate economic activity; they have departments that deliver water, education, transportation, green space (parks) and social services.
Yet local governments pay little systemic attention to the one resource most essential for all Americans’ well-being: food."
Join the movement to end processed food marketing aimed at children #MomsNotLovinIt
Examples of Food Industry and Consumer Change
“A Seismic Shift in How People Eat" Hans Taparia; Pamela Koch. New York Times 06 Nov 2015
“Market Pulse: The Better-For-You Transaction Landscape” Janica Lane. Piper Jaffray & Co. 06 Mar 2015
“Big Food’s natural brand acquisitions prosper vest when left alone” Anjali Athavaley. Reuters 21 Aug 2015
“Special Report: The War on Big Food” Beth Kowitt. Fortune 21 May 2015
“Is the era of Big Food coming to an end?” Sarah Sheiks. The Guardian 12 March 2015
“22 Organic Brands Ruined by U.S. Food Companies” JR Crooks. Sovereign Investor Daily 13 Oct 2014
The Millennial Impact: Food Shopping Decisions US 2015, 29 Oct 2015
“Why are Millennials So Obsessed with Food?” Joe Pinsker. The Atlantic 14 Aug 2015