I got an email yesterday from author/producer/activist Laurie David. I met Laurie last April when I attended a wonderful roundtable discussion of her movie Fed Up and her cookbook The Family Cooks at the Huffington Post. At the end of the morning, I went over and talked to Laurie and thanked her for doing the work she's doing. As a mom of three kids and someone who is interested in health and wellness, it was a true privilege to be there.
Anyway, the email yesterday. It contained a link to an article called How Americans Can Make It Easier for Americans to Lead Healthier Lives. Laurie David and Representative Tim Ryan write:
Something has to give. We have a serious health crisis in America and it's impacting a whole lot more people than the Ebola virus. Over the past 30 years childhood obesity rates have tripled; 1 in 3 adults are overweight or obese; and over 29 million people have diabetes. All of these things have helped cause our healthcare spending as a nation to go through the roof, with no end in sight. Studies have shown that one of the largest contributors to this debacle is the enormous quantities of sugar we each consume every day as a nation.
Some of that consumption is in obvious forms like soda, donuts and cookies. But a lot of it is "hidden" in 80% of the more than 600,000 items sold in the average supermarket. We use the term hidden because there are several ways food manufacturers thwart the consumer's ability to understand exactly how much sugar is in the product they are buying. One is by using over 56 different names for the ingredient (like dextrose, agave nectar, beet sugar, fructose, glucose, and honey). Unfortunately, as Shakespeare wrote, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet and the same goes for sugar.
Another tactic used by food and beverage manufacturers is the use of the gram as the nutrition label measurement instead of the more easily understood teaspoon. Let's be honest, most everyone can conceptualize what a teaspoon is. They are used every day in kitchens everywhere. But the gram is more elusive (Full disclosure: even this co-author who has published cookbooks doesn't understand the gram measurement.) It's time to make it easier, not harder, for Americans to lead healthier lives. That is why the second author on this post, Congressman Tim Ryan, is calling on the FDA to change sugar measurements from grams to the more commonly understood teaspoons.
To read the rest of their article, click here.
And click here to sign the petition to change the labeling of sugar that I signed this morning.
I've got to say something: It felt good to actually do something. Like so many of you, I read and read and talk and talk, but signing a petition that might actually affect how our foods are labeled felt empowering.
Anyway, must go and tend to my morning Rowlets, but I hope you will join me in signing this important petition and in supporting Laurie in the important work she's doing. Have a fab Wednesday, all.
Let me know if you have any reactions to the article and if you signed the petition. Do you agree that it feels good to actually do something rather than just existing in the land of debate? Speaking of doing, who else voted yesterday?