Sugar in food and drink

Dear Editor,
In the past, you could only see how much sugar was in your food. That included sugars naturally occurring in healthy, whole foods-like lactose in milk-alongside extra sugars like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, which aren’t so healthy. But the Food and Drug Administration should announce that in the near future, labels would specify the amount of added sugars in packaged products. That will make it easier to spot the sugars you should limit in your diet.
Will this change India’s eating habits and health for the better? I hope so. But it might not. The new labels could benefit consumers in two ways. First, and perhaps most obviously, health-conscious eaters may read the labels and select healthier food choices. That would be welcome.
But there’s another way the new labels might help. Instead of clueing shoppers in to how sugar-laden some of their favorite products are, manufacturers may actually reformulate foods to remove some of that sugar. That would be ideal. Indeed, it would benefit all eaters, regardless of whether they read labels. But there are other options.
In short, the new labels represent an opportunity for our country. We can reform our eating habits. Food manufacturers can reduce the amount of added sugars in our food, and overnight Indians will eat less sugar even if they keep their diets exactly the same. Or, we can just keep everything the same, and continue the cat and mouse game between nutrition advocates and the government and food manufacturers like we always do.
Ashok Kumar
Sanjay Nagar, Jammu

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