Corn Sugar

Amazingly some good news has emerged from the mass food production industry – some large food producers are switching away from the use of high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been the sweetener of choice for decades, but recently people have been avoiding this chemically altered ingredient. HFCS is a food additive that is now regarded by some experts as a health concern.

Consumers are becoming smarter and attempting to avoid high fructose corn syrup, or at least reduce intake as much as possible. Even Kraft foods has made the switch away from this manmade sweetener.

The news that some major players, including Starbucks, have made the move away from HCPS may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back … and now the empire is fighting back.

The response was fairly swift once industry realized it was losing group. The response was also very sneaky.

The new tactic is to simply change the name of high fructose corn syrup. The Corn Refiners Association has filed a petition (in September 2010) with the Food and Drug Administration to request permission to change the name of HFCS to “corn sugar”.

Certainly the name sounds better than “high fructose corn syrup”, but the substance is still the same old bad stuff. There has not been, and will not be any, change to this product; industry simply wants to change the name, as “high fructose corn syrup” is starting to encounter heavy resistance as a sweetener.

But here’s a new flash for industry: By the time the FDA deems the name change official (if it does, that is), the whole world will know that “corn sugar” is the replacement name for high fructose corn syrup! So just what the CRA hopes to accomplish as anybody’s guess.

Perhaps industry is trying to make the product sound more natural with this new term. Marketing it under the new, more natural sounding moniker might make consumers feel more assured they are getting a natural product.

Unfortunately, HFCS, a.k.a. “corn sugar”, is not a natural product. It goes through several alternations and refinements (which include heat processing) that make it anything but natural.

High fructose corn syrup goes through a multi-faceted process to arrive at the final product. After liquefaction, this includes processes such as saccharification, ion exchange, precoat filtration, evaporation, carbon refining, isomerization and other changes. The result is that the original product ends up being dramatically changed.

HFCS is highly processed, and natural elements have been altered before it is offered to the public in any of hundreds of different products.

The FDA has not yet ruled on the change, but stay tuned for its decision, and be wary of anything termed “corn sugar” in the future. This is simply another shell game that big food industry is using to keep the consumer in a fog. And incidentally, anything with “sugar” in its name is no prize for the body, either.

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