Have you ever wondered why there are so many different types of sugar in your grocery store? Last week, consumers responded, some in outrage, to the latest announcement from the Corn Refiner’s Association that high-fructose corn syrup is changing its name to “corn sugar.” While sweet-tooth beholders across America struggle to understand what kind of impact the allegedly nefarious “corn sugar” has on our bodies, we tend to overlook another important distinction: what is real sugar? (more…)
Corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup… are you confused yet? Changing the name of high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar seems to me to be a marketing ploy to avoid the bad press that high fructose corn syrup has received. Instead of recognizing the dangers that have been discovered and responding to market demands for healthier products, it seems that the companies that use high fructose corn syrup would rather hide their less expensive (and more dangerous) ingredient under a new name. This may be my soapbox, but it seems that I am not alone.
The New York Times asked a panel of nutrition experts to suggest a more accurate name change. Dr. Andrew Weil suggested maintaining High-Fructose Corn Syrup, which is currently the favorite of the reader poll, with Michael Pollan’s Enzymatically Engineered Corn Glucose in second place. The New York Times also asked readers to make their own suggestions in the comments section and several have done so.
UPDATE [9/14/2011]: Although it may take the FDA another year to decide to approve the Corn Refiner’s Association’s (CRA) request to use the term “Corn Sugar” instead of “High Fructose Corn Syrup,” groups representing sugar producers are suing the CRA over an ad campaign that promotes the idea that “your body can’t tell the difference” between the two sweeteners. The Associated Press reports that a ruling to dismiss the case will be decided by U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall soon, but a time frame has not yet been determined.
Health experts remain in disagreement over the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, but many have pointed out that changing the name won’t change the nutritional profile of substance. “Whether they decide to call it ‘High Fructose Corn Syrup’ or ‘Corn Sugar’, its the same processed sugar and 60 calories per tablespoon,” tweeted Joy Bauer, MS RD CDN,
The Corn Refiner’s Association of American has decided that the negativity surrounding the name High-Fructose Corn Syrup is harming the sale of the product. As a result, they’ve moved to make the name more consumer-friendly. High-Fructose Corn Syrup will now be known as “Corn Sugar”, if the CRA has its way.
The CRA applied for an official name change on Tuesday, but the approval could take more than two years. That’s of no concern to the CRA, however, who has already created a web site and begun to refer to the product as Corn Sugar in television commercials.
Consumption of HFCS has reached a 20 year low, with consumers avoiding the product due to a concern with the products effect on the health of the nation. The CRA is capitalizing upon the consumer who looks for the words “cane sugar” and hopes to show that sugar is sugar, no matter the source. (more…)
We’ve seen the commercials that attempt to disperse negative reputation of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) conveniently produced by the Corn Refiners Association and we’ve read the studies that vehemently protest consumption of it. So what’s the truth? What does the research say? What do you believe? The following is a brief summary as well as my opinion on the HFCS issue.
Let’s start with a definition. High fructose corn syrup is a sweetening agent added to processed foods where some glucose is changed to fructose (two types of sugar). At the end of the processing, both fructose and glucose are present. HFCS is chemically similar to table sugar, which we’ve been using as an “added sugar” sweetener for years. Is HFCS worse for you than table sugar? Is it correlated with obesity? Does it cause it?
Much of the research done on the topic shows indecisiveness of the effects of HFCS on weight. Older studies found that when subjects consumed higher amounts of sweetened drinks, like sodas, they gained more weight. More recent studies however, say that HFCS isn’t particularly to blame for the high rates of obesity. Princeton University found that rats that were given HFCS gained much higher amounts of weight than those rats that were given table sugar, even though they consumed identical calorie amounts. The HFCS rats also had higher rates of triglycerides, or ‘blood fats’. Long-term studies bring up the prevalence of another dangerous condition, metabolic syndrome. Gaining, almost 50 percent more weight than rats eating a normal diet, metabolic syndrome and obesity were at an all time high. (more…)