Finally, the call has been made for food labels in Australia to single out "added sugars" to show how much sweetener has been added to our foods. Sugars are added sometimes to foods that you wouldn't think needed sweetening. These sugars come in so many forms that the consumer can no longer name all on the huge list.
In my local newspaper, The Mercury, consumer group Choice was today named as pushing for the definitive labelling which would separate naturally occurring sugars from sugar that is added. Current labels show "Total Sugars" for each product. This leaves the consumer having to look through the ingredient list to find that producers have added sugars to products under various names, such as molasses, fructose, glucose, dextrose, syrup, honey, etc. In fact, Choice has identified 43 names for sugars that are found in current food products.
The ingredient listings for some products are crazy, long, and include names hard to pronounce and some even known as numbers. Is it any wonder that consumers are wary of such products, not knowing why these ingredients are included or what they even are? To read that your cereal has several sugar alternatives added, despite its claim to being healthy, makes you wonder whether the sugar is trying to hide other distasteful ingredients.
This is not my first rant on sugar and possibly it won't be the last. Sugar is fast becoming a product high on the consumer awareness radar, so why keep adding it in colossal amounts? We should be getting enough natural sugar from our daily intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy without adding more.
I can't believe that it has taken this long, but I am glad that Choice, backed by Food Ministers, has taken the stand to help the Australian consumer know exactly what is in these produced goods. Knowledge is power, and the consumer deserves to know the sugar content in clear, concise labels.