Corn Sugar… Oh Really?

So, the corn refiners association is trying to get the name of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) changed to “corn sugar”. This makes sense after all the negativity surrounding HFCS. But, that doesn’t mean they are changing the ingredients. HFCS renamed as “corn sugar” is still the same sweetener which contains about half fructose and half glucose (depending on the product).

HFCS is definitely comparable to table sugar (sucrose), but the HFCS is more concentrated. This is why we see all the studies showing obese rats with problems of appetite control. However, we still need more research. The main problem with HFCS is that is it in everything–breads, granola bars, snacks, cereals, condiments, desserts, crackers, soda (which is another story), etc. So, you have to figure, if we are adding all this sugar to our foods, of course we are going to have an obese country. The other main problem is that the US runs on corn products. The corn refinery business is one of the most profitable (because we use HFCS for everything). The corn refiners will not back down from their product. They will do everything to support it, and improve HFCS’s image and name.

So, what to do? The best thing is to avoid sweet processed products (including most granola bars), sodas, and fruit drinks. Most importantly, as Americans, we generally consume too much sugar no matter what kind it is. After all, it is recommended that women consume no more than 20g of added sugars, and men no more than 36g.
FYI, here is a comparison of a “healthy cereal” and one made with corn syrup:

Kashi uses honey and “cane juice crystals” aka sugar, and honey nut cheerios use corn syrup. Take your pick. The more important thing is total sugar content.

What will happen to the name? It is likely that the name will be changed to corn sugar because the FDA always wants the consumers to have a better understanding of the product they are consuming. HFCS really  is just the sugars from corn (processed thoroughly of course).

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  1. Ashley says

    I really appreciated hearing a registered dietitian's take on this, Nicole. There's so much out there it's easy to jump on the OMG HFCS!!11! bandwagon, but it was nice to see it broken down by someone who is an actual authority.

  2. Andrea says

    Thanks for writing about this. When I read the story in the news this week about the possible name change I wondered what you might have to say about it!

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