Comedy

John Oliver Calls Out Sugar Industry, Demands They #ShowUsYourPeanuts

How much sugar are you eating? Odds are you don't know, and as John Oliver pointed out Sunday on "Last Week Tonight," it's 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.

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. 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's offering a better solution.

"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.

Whole-wheat crackers, 8
bhofack/iStock/360/Getty Images
Up to 12 grams sugar

Source: Eat It to Beat It! by David Zinczenko
Crispy chicken and spinach salad, prepared in a restaurant
TBird59/iStock/360/Getty Images
Up to 13 grams sugar

Source: Eat It to Beat It! by David Zinczenko
Tomato basil soup, 1 can
molka/iStock/Thinkstock
Up to 13-22 grams sugar

Source: Eat It to Beat It! by David Zinczenko
Crunchy broccoli salad, 1/2 cup
ElenaFabbrili/iStock/Thinkstock
7 grams sugar

Source: Kraft recipes
Energy drinks, 8-ounce bottle*
Up to 21–30 grams
*Some energy drinks are sold in 16-ounce bottles

Source: University of California, Davis, Department of Nutrition fact sheet
Yogurt, single serving-size cup (usually 6 ounces)
moranaF/iStock/Thinkstock
Up to 25–34 grams of sugar

Source: Eat It to Beat It! by David Zinczenko
Coleslaw, 2 tablespoons
TheMalni/iStock/Thinkstock
Up to 12 grams of sugar

Source: Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper's Guide, by Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Baked beans, 1/2 cup
Ju-Lee/iStock/Thinkstock
11–16 grams of sugar

Source: Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper's Guide, by Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Beef jerky, 1 serving
bhofack2/iStock/Thinkstock
4–6 grams of sugar

Source: Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper's Guide, by Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Vanilla almond milk, 1 cup
bhofack2/iStock/Thinkstock
Up to 14 grams of sugar
(Unsweetened almond milk: 0 grams sugar)

Source: Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper's Guide, by Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Hamburger buns, 1 bun
sautepl/iStock/Thinkstock
Up to 3–6 grams

Source: Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper's Guide, by Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Teriyaki marinade
Svetlana Kolpakova/Hemera/Thinkstock
Up to 8 grams sugar

Source: Eat It to Beat It! by David Zinczenko
Cereal bars, 1 bar
rzeszutek/iStock/Thinkstock
12 grams of sugar, on average

Source: Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper's Guide, by Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Hot cereal, 1 envelope
AbbieImages/iStock/Thinkstock
Up to 7–12 grams

Source: Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper's Guide, by Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL
Dark chocolate, 1 bar
Zakharova_Natalia/iStock/Thinkstock
Up to 16–21 grams
(You can find dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao with as little as 5 grams of sugar)

Source: Eat It to Beat It! by David Zinczenko