Wednesday, November 24, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Does your body know the difference?

The television was set to one of those annoying stations that plays endless advertising with brief interjections of "regular programming".  This was somebody else's doing, and I was prepared to shut it off when a commercial sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association came on.  This caught my interest, as I have recently written a few articles in protest of the Corn Refiner's petition to the Food & Drug Administration to change the name of High-Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS] to "Corn Sugar".  As criticisms of this sweetener have accrued, and a growing number of consumers declare that they intentionally avoid purchase of products that use the ingredient, I feel a name change can only serve to confuse consumers into thinking they are making purchases that are HFCS-free.  President Audrae Erickson, of the Corn Refiners Association commented on my last article to raise this concern:

The Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking that manufacturers have the option of using “corn sugar” as an alternate ingredient name for high fructose corn syrup on product labels because “corn sugar” more accurately describes the composition of the ingredient.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The High Fructose Corn Syrup deception: how you can speak to the FDA

Recently, I wrote an email to the Food & Drug Administration:

In September, the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the FDA to allow them to re-label High-Fructose Corn Syrup as "Corn Sugar". The Corn Refiners claim that this is a move meant to quell confusion in consumers, but as more-and-more studies have linked HFCS with health problems, it seems more likely that this is a move that is actually meant to confuse consumers into thinking they are ingesting something other from this increasingly unpopular ingredient they have come to learn about.
People know High-Fructose Corn Syrup by that name, and the facts they've learned about that ingredient are attached to that name. If the name isn't the best indication of the ingredient's properties, it is up to the corn refiners to put the word out as to how that is the case. It should not be up to the consumers to figure out which ingredients have benefited from convenient name-changes each time questions regarding the item's health effects have been questioned.  I am deeply disturbed by this ploy by the Corn Refiners Association, and I am hoping to urge the FDA to not allow this name-change to take place [...]

Friday, November 5, 2010

Corn Refiner's Association moves to confuse consumers by re-naming High Fructose Corn Syrup

On March 22, Science Daily reported, "A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same."

The Corn Refiners Association disagreed, but by September they were petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to allow them to re-name HFCS something a bit more natural sounding: "corn sugar". While this seems a transparent ploy to confuse consumers back into buying product they've now come to recognize and are increasingly rejecting for health and environmental reasons, a spokesperson for the Washington-based Corn Refiners Association told the New York Times that the opposite is true:

“Clearly the name is confusing consumers,” said Audrae Erickson... "Research shows that ‘corn sugar’ better communicates the amount of calories, the level of fructose and the sweetness in this ingredient.”

The Princeton report, of course, wasn't the first bad press that High Fructose Corn Syrup had received. Ingestion of this disturbingly ubiquitous ingredient has long been a suspected agent in growing US health and obesity problems. According to the Mayo Clinic website:

Research studies have yielded mixed results about the possible adverse effects of consuming high-fructose corn syrup. Although high-fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar (sucrose), concerns have been raised because of how high-fructose corn syrup is processed. Some believe that your body reacts differently to high-fructose corn syrup than it does to other types of sugar. But research about high-fructose corn syrup is evolving.