High-Fructose Corn Syrup, aka 'Corn Sugar'


The Internet has been abuzz since the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 14 to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to “corn sugar.”

Empty calories from all types of sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup, are a primary villain in the obesity epidemic. Authorities, including KidsHealth, urge parents to be aware of their children’s daily sugar consumption and to check food nutrition labels.

Although scientific evidence is inconclusive, a majority of Americans now think high fructose corn syrup, which is manufactured by corn refiners, is unhealthy. This has prompted food companies including Hunt’s Ketchup, Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice and Wheat Thins to drop its use in favor of other types of sugar.

The Corn Refiners Association countered earlier this year with a TV ad campaign that contends, “whether it’s corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar." This campaign produced an avalanche of mocking videos on YouTube.

Now the corn refiners haves asked the FDA to change the name of HFCS to “corn sugar,” creating further media buzz. Even the New York Times jumped aboard and is conducting a re-naming poll

It could all be for naught. In her blog for The Atlantic, nutrition professor Marion Nestle points out that the FDA already has a code for naturally occurring “corn sugar.” In other words, the name seems to be already taken.


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