Corn Industry Pushing to Rename High-Fructose Corn Syrup “Corn Sugar”


High-fructose corn syrup has picked up an increasingly bad name in recent years due to alleged links to obesity and liver disease, which may be why the Corn Refiners Association is petitioning the FDA to give it a new name: Corn sugar. In a press release, the group said that “Consumers need to know what is in their foods and where their foods come from and we want to be clear with them … The term ‘corn sugar’ succinctly and accurately describes what this natural ingredient is and where it comes from – corn.”

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As slippery a PR campaign as this may sound, the CRA does have a bit of a point in that high-fructose corn syrup isn’t the most descriptive name for what the stuff actually is: A doctor contacted by the New York Times told the paper that “the plural ‘corn sugars’ is a better description of high-fructose corn syrup, which is actually a mixture of glucose and fructose.” But the all-natural corn schtick doesn’t necessarily follow from this.

As Adland’s Dabitch cuttingly, succinctly puts it, the campaign fails to explain “how cornstarch chemically or enzymatically degraded to glucose and some short polymers of glucose, tricked out with another enzyme to convert varying fractions of glucose into fructose is ‘natural’ when the process doesn’t exist in nature.” And that doesn’t even reckon with the recent Princeton University study demonstrating that rats that consumed HFCS “gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.”

The Corn Refiners Association put together the ad below in support of the ‘corn sugar’ party line:

But it looks like what they’re selling is (puts on shades) … corn saccharine.

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