John Oliver's rants are becoming legendary on YouTube. A nice 11-12 minute digestible take on some issue in society.
Admittedly, Oliver's show wasn't on HBO when the FDA recommendations for listing added sugars first came out. Stephen Colbert had a really nice take on the potential to list added sugars at the time. (Both Colbert and Oliver worked on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.")
Oliver's punchline was that we should measure added sugars in terms of "circus peanuts" tying the issue to Halloween and candy: 1 circus peanut = 5g of sugar. Unlike the FDA suggestions for added sugars per serving, Oliver wants to convey the circus peanuts theme for the whole container.
This article in The Washington Post gives us another candy measurement: M&Ms.
The author points out that the World Health Organization recommends sugar consumption be no more than 5 percent of your daily calories, or for the average adult, 25g of added sugar.
The 1.69-ounce package contains 31g of sugar.
If visualizing circus peanuts or M&M candy packages help you understand added sugars better, then you will be better off. The labeling process will help a lot of people better understand what they are putting in their bodies. Some people learn better through numbers; other need to see a graphic of what they are eating.
As we've noted, you can get some idea of added sugars now from the ingredient list. But we don't know percentages of ingredients in our food, good or bad.
We delved into the uselessness of candy for adults in last week's What's Tempting segment. If we are going to spend 25g of added sugar, provided you stick to the WHO guidelines, why waste that added sugar on candy or soft drinks? Spend those added sugars on food with taste and flavor.
Every calorie counts. Every gram of added sugar counts. Even if you are going to go over the WHO guidelines, and you probably will, do so in style. In eating too much sugar, do so with class and style. In a perverse way, you deserve better, even if it isn't good for you.
If the new FDA guidelines become law, consumers will still have to be diligent with the information they will have. Having new information doesn't mean behavior will automatically change. But having that info, whether it be on a label or visualizing it in circus peanuts, is the first step to being a bit more careful about what you eat.