Too sweet on sugar

September 13, 1999

Here is an excerpt of an editorial from the New York Times, which was published Friday.

SINCE 1983, consumption of sugars and other caloric sweeteners by Americans has risen nearly 30 percent. Twenty years ago, children consumed twice as much milk as soda. Today the reverse is true. This national appetite for empty calories is crowding out important nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products.

Last month, a coalition of concerned nutrition experts and groups, including the American Public Health Association, urged the Food and Drug Administration to supply consumers who want to cut back on sugar with important information that is not now readily available to them.

At the moment, labels list only total sugars in a given product. They do not say which sugar occurs naturally and which is derived from an added ingredient like white or brown sugar, corn syrup or honey. The group's petition asks the agency to set a recommended daily intake for refined sugar, and then require that all food labels disclose how much is in each serving, and what percentage of the maximum daily intake that represents.

These are modest steps with a potentially big payoff for public health.

Pub Date: 9/13/99

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