Trick or treat? This year you might have to opt to give a trick instead of a treat to kids. The amount of sugar that we are eating is an exorbitant amount. How much sugar are you eating? Chances are you don’t know, and as John Oliver hysterically pointed on Last Week Tonight, it is because food makers are doing their best to make sure you never find out.
For example, most cranberry products are packed with sugar, and for good reason.
“Cranberries are, I think we can all agree, nature’s most disgusting berry. Cranberries taste like cherries who hate you,” Oliver said. “Cranberries taste like what a raspberry drinks before its colonoscopy — and the industry knows it.”
That, he said, is why even cranberry companies are fighting against adding labels that would disclose added sugars.
“Which is tantamount to begging, ‘Please don’t make us tell everyone how much sugar we dump on our garbage bog-berry,’” Oliver said.
Washington Post wrote that the crux of it is that cloying amounts of sugar are hardly something Americans only find in candy corn, tootsie rolls, and lollipops today. Rather, spoonfuls of the stuff can be found in everything from fruit drinks to salad dressings, cereals, crackers, and ketchup. And, most worryingly, regulators aren’t doing enough to help everyone understand how much sugar they’re putting into their bodies, the site says.
“We have no idea how prevalent sugar is in almost everything we eat,” Oliver said.
The Washington Post wrote that the FDA has proposed a new nutrition label that will better communicate the amount of “added sugar”—how much of any given food’s sugar content wasn’t in the food before it was produced and packaged. But the proposal, which was first put on the table at the beginning of the year, has met fierce opposition from the cash-rich sugar industry.
It’s not just the cranberry industry, either. Most food and beverage makers are fighting the proposed inclusion of an added sugars label on food packages, according to the Huffington Post. And, if there is a label, they don’t want sugars listed in teaspoons. They want it in grams, which Oliver says is because no one knows what a gram is.
So he is offering a better solution for sugar abusers.
“We are proposing, in the spirit of Halloween, that product manufacturers express their sugar content in the form of candy,” Oliver said. “Specifically, circus peanuts, the most disgusting of all the candies. They taste like an elephant ejaculated into a packet of Splenda.”
Since there are more than 5 grams of sugar in each circus peanut, Oliver said food makers should put a picture of one circus peanut on the front of the package for every 5 grams of sugar in the product. “Do it, food makers. Expose your peanuts to the world. Because if you’re going to shove your peanuts in our mouths, the very least you can do is tell us what we’re swallowing.”
Oliver called on viewers to support this idea by tweeting food makers with the hashtag #ShowUsYourPeanuts. The hashtag is already trending on Twitter.
— John Oliver (@iamjohnoliver) October 27, 2014
— Paul Vesely (@paulseoguru) October 27, 2014
— Andrea Davis (@hula_pants) October 27, 2014
— Eliza Bray (@eliza_bray) October 27, 2014
— Jasmin Khangura (@jasminkhangura) October 27, 2014
— Brian O’Neill (@snowmanco) October 27, 2014
— Rosa Zavala (@rrrosits) October 27, 2014
1 can of Pepsi contains over 8 circus peanuts ! #showusyourpeanuts
— Moe Abdallah (@mosmack) October 27, 2014