Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Corn syrup: sweet devil in diguise

The label on the bottle of ketchup at the grocery store proclaimed “NO High Fructose Corn Syrup”. It cost more than the others, but that’s the one I bought. I refuse to buy anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in it, or knowingly anyway, since sometimes I don’t notice until reading the label later.

HFCS is in the majority of breads, jams, jellies, yogurt, juice, cereals, candy, crackers, syrups, ice cream, applesauce…and the list goes on. In recent years HFCS has been implicated in the rise of obesity.

Now with the bad rap it’s gotten, products are being advertised as NOT having it, as in the ketchup example. Some soda companies are even reverting back to how they used to make soda—with real sugar.

In light of this, the Corn Refiner’s Association, realizing the ramifications of HFCS’s bad reputation, have renamed it “corn sugar.”

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering why HFCS is in just about everything, instead of sugar. According to the “corn sugar experts” (, HFCS provides “consumer benefits,” such as sweetness equivalent to sugar.

Which begs the question, why not just use sugar then? The answer, though you won’t hear it from the corn sugar experts, is that HFCS is cheaper than sugar, and products made with it have a longer shelf life than products made with sugar, which appeals to food manufacturers.

Neither one of which have anything to do with consumer health or benefits.

Sugar and HFCS are also processed by the body differently. I’m personally wary of anything chemically altered and mixed up in a science lab and presented to me as equal to sugar, which is at least naturally derived. And ultimately of course, limiting sugars and sweeteners is the best for our bodies, which are often overfed yet hungry for real food.

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