While many consumers are growing more savvy about the misleading terms like ‘natural’, it’s not quite as simple when it comes to ingredients that contain sugars. Many supposedly healthy foods such as fruit juices and smoothies have been proven to include far more sugar and added sweeteners than recommended. The FDA is now overhauling its guide to nutritional content, and in particular, how certain ingredients are labelled.
The FDA chose to rework its existing stance in order “to enhance consumers’ ability to make informed choices among sweeteners by promoting accurate and consistent labeling.” Evaporated cane juice is just one of the ingredients that led to this decision.
A detailed document published on the FDA’s website notes that evaporated cane juice should not be listed as a separate ingredient away from the sugar content. Why? “The term ‘evaporated cane juice’ is false or misleading because it suggests that the sweetener is ‘juice’ or is made from ‘juice’ and does not reveal that its basic nature and characterizing properties are those of a sugar.” At the moment, the FDA’s recommendations are just that. Evaporated cane juice is sugar but companies can’t yet be legally forced to call it that on packaging.
This follows on from the recent decision to introduce new nutritional labels on over 800,000 products, an initiative promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama. These new labels will show sugar/syrups previously not included in the daily recommended amount. “This label will tell you how much sugar in your snack was added during processing and how much came from ingredients like fruit,” Obama said. “You will no longer need a microscope, a calculator, or a degree in nutrition to figure out whether the food you’re buying is actually good for our kids.”
Both of these measures are indicative of a positive change in the public attitude toward sugar. The amount of sugar Americans consume daily is skyrocketing, leading to several serious health conditions. Obesity is on the rise in the U.S., which is home to more than 25% of the world’s obese men and 20% of the world’s obese women, and 29 million Americans have type 2 diabetes.
For further information check out Sugar Science’s list of 66 other names for sugar.
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