the one exception is the "Daily Value" percentage for sugar. This exception is a direct result of the sugar lobby’s massive power over the food industry. Nevertheless, the FDA has finally come to their senses, and beginning in July 2018, the new labels will include the amount of "added sugar," expressed in grams and the "Daily Value" of sugar as a percentage of a 2000 calorie-a-day diet (Charles). With this change, the label on a 20 oz. bottle of Coke will show 65g of added sugar, which is 130% of recommended daily intake. In the opinion of Michael Jacobson, founder of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “this new label will allow consumers to make more informed decisions about the foods they eat and also spur producers to limit the amount of sugar they add to their products,” (Charles). Some giants in the food industry support this claim, such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which called the new label a "robust consumer education effort," (Charles). The hope is that this measure will reduce the growing incidence of sugar related diseases in our country by supplying the public with recommendations for healthy sugar consumption. However, there are already major opponents of the new label, such as the Sugar Association, who was outraged at the FDA’s decision calling it a "dangerous precedent that is not grounded in science," (Charles). This claim simply is not true as there are countless studies, that show overconsumption of sugar as a contributor to obesity and diabetes. Regardless, the implementation of this new label will allow consumers to better understand the food they are eating, but to reduce sugar related diseases in America more still needs to be done.
Other solutions to America’s health problem can be in the form of government taxes and subsides. The US government recommends that 50% of a healthy diet should be comprised of fruits and vegetables, yet only 1% of American farm subsidies support these products (Aubrey). The cost of production for fruits and vegetables is already relatively high compared with other food products (Aubrey). So without adequate subsidies, the price of fruits and vegetables is a much greater burden on the consumer than is necessary. If just a portion of the billions of dollars spent on subsidising the corn, livestock, and dairy industries went to supporting fruit and vegetable farmers, then many Americans would be able to afford these healthier products without a considerable financial strain. According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2012 the total cost of diabetes in the US was $245 billion (Aubrey). This figure can be greatly reduced by making healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables, more available to the American public in order to decrease the prevalence of obesity and diabetes in our society. The increase of subsidies for fruits and vegetables will not only reduce the costs of these products, but by promoting a healthier lifestyle, it will reduce the nearly $1,500 more obese Americans pay a year for medical costs (CDC). This is not to say that greater subsidies will singlehandedly solve America’s obesity crisis or even considerably lower prices for produce, but it will certainly be a step in the right direction. However, some
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- Spring '17
- Lori Freeman
- Nutrition, high-fructose corn syrup