Mandate Artificial Sweeteners Be Indicated on Front Labels

Sugar Free Oreos

Target: Federal Drug & Food Administration

Goal: Require companies to include names of sugar substitutes alongside misleading “sugar-free” labels

It isn’t difficult to walk into a grocery store and locate the “sugar-free” version of your favorite soda or food, but what sometimes can be difficult to discern is exactly what has replaced the sugar. But even more often, consumers miss reading the ingredients altogether and rely solely upon what they see on the front of the label: sugar-free.

Most items that are labeled “sugar-free” contain a sugar substitute, or artificial sweetener, and many of these sweeteners trick our bodies into believing they are still going to receive the sugar somehow. But when it doesn’t, the brain processes contradictory information and this often results in the consumer feeling insatiable hunger. In addition, certain artificial sweeteners have been scientifically linked to cancer, neurological problems, and even urinary tract tumors.

Research is still ongoing for this relatively new type of food additive, but the risks are evident and consumers must be informed of what else their “sugar-free” product contains instead of mistakenly believing that it’s safe and healthy. Ask the FDA to prevent misleading advertising and warn consumers of risky sweeteners on the fronts of food labels instead of deceptively embedding them into the ingredients list.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Federal Drug & Food Administration,

We know “sugar-free” doesn’t actually mean a product is free of sweetener, or that it automatically becomes healthy, but many consumers mistakenly believe this. And as a result, risky artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose are often overlooked in the ingredients list while consumers have no idea what’s actually in the products they buy.

The method of advertising companies use when labeling their products as “sugar-free” is absolutely misleading and attention needs to be brought to many risks associated with regular sugar-substitute consumption, such as cancer and tumor-growth. Sweeteners should be listed right underneath or directly alongside “sugar-free” claims in order to properly educate consumers, or at least inform them of what is replacing this sugar they so ardently avoid. This way, people can make the clearer choice of sugar containing versus sugar substitute containing and not be fooled into thinking one is automatically healthier based on what isn’t on the label.

Please mandate that the food and beverage companies abusing this practice abide by ethical principles and educate consumers of what’s in their products instead of sugar. This information needs to be included on the front of the label as well, not just lost in a sea of ingredients on the back.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Getty Images

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