Target: Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Differentiate between natural and added sugars on food labels
Big tobacco, big pharma and big oil have all become quite common in our daily speech. However, a new group of lobbyists is rising — Big Sugar. Big Sugar is using a lot of the same tactics that big tobacco was using in its heyday, namely, trying to get politicians to doubt scientific evidence, and thereby create uninformed public policy.
Right now, sugar’s debate is between natural and added sugars. The FDA wants to add a differentiation between added sugar and natural sugar. Studies have shown that when people see how much sugar is added, they end up making healthier choices — namely, they stop eating products with as much sugar because they can see how much is artificially added. Big Sugar’s main point is that the human body does not process added and natural sugars differently. Science counters this by agreeing that while this is true, people are able to make better informed decisions about what they eat if they know exactly how much added sugar is in their food. Another main point is that it would be fairly expensive and sometimes difficult to calculate exactly how much added sugar is in products that are already on the market.
Scientists and those against the sugar lobby stipulate that a one-time cost now is worth the future benefit to consumers. The only group that this is not benefiting to this is the sugar lobby. If people decide not to eat as much sugar, then the sugar companies will suffer. However, if people can see whether products have an excessive amount of sugar in them, then it help them to make healthier choices.
We are calling on the FDA to ignore Big Sugar and go ahead with its proposed plan. While the lobby is a powerful group, and can throw a lot of money at politicians, the right move for American consumers is to allow them to see how much added sugar is in their food, and hopefully make healthier, and more informed, decisions.
Dear Mr. Taylor,
While added sugar and natural are the same as far as digestion, they are not the same as far as people are concerned. When shown how much added sugar is in food items, people often choose to eat foods with less added sugar, which usually means less sugar overall.
Therefore, it is very important that you allow the proposed change on food labels to go through. Although Big Sugar’s arguments and money can be convincing, it is best for the American people to show them exactly what they are eating. Sugar, in the quantities we eat it in, is so unhealthy, and it is time to allow people to get full information on how much sugar they are eating.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: bykst via Pixabay