Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sugar-Coating Corn

I recently read an article about corn refiners petitioning the FDA to rename High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) "Corn Sugar." Sounds healthy and natural, right? I, like many others, was NOT a fan of the idea.

Well earlier tonight I saw another one of those irritating HFCS commercials, but this time they were calling it "Corn Sugar," and that definitely pushed my buttons. It's not approved for our food labels, but it's being used as an advertising tool?!

Corn refiners want the name change because HFCS now has a negative reputation, and for good reason. Manufacturers are picking up on that negative reputation and switching to alternative sweeteners, so corn refiners are losing money. In hopes of making a bigger profit, corn refiners want to use the term "Corn Sugar" to trick consumers into either
  1. Thinking more positively about their product or
  2. Buying their product just because they don't know HFCS and Corn Sugar are the same thing.

Corn refiners are utilizing the "ignorance is bliss" mentality. Except this time, your ignorance is their bliss.


Many people simply aren't educated about High Fructose Corn Syrup, so they don't understand that the negative reputation is a valid one. I don't want you to be one of those people, so here are the facts:

Yes, HFCS is a mixture of glucose and fructose.
Yes, HFCS is nutritionally equivalent to table sugar.
Yes, HFCS is in almost everything you eat.

But HFCS is digested and absorbed differently than table sugar. It skips glycolysis and travels straight to the liver. In laymen's terms, HFCS is turned directly into fat. And unlike other carbs, HFCS doesn't cause the pancreas to produce insulin, so your brain doesn't get those "I'm full" signals.

Not to mention, HFCS is one of the primary causes of our nation's dependence on corn, which leads to health risks, obesity, monoculture, soil erosion, runoff, eutrophication... Check out the documentary King Corn, because it is excellent and describes everything WAY better than I could!

It's nearly impossible to avoid HFCS all together, but it's important to know what it is and how it effects your body and our environment. It's also important to recognize the motives behind advertising strategies like this. I don't like being conned, and you shouldn't either.

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