Last September the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petitioned to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) to Corn Sugar, claiming it’s no different from cane sugar. CRA hoped to put all the negative facts associated with HFCS ‘s effect on the body out of sight and out of the public’s mind.
The campaign’s not working. Dr. Andrew Weil invited readers of his Facebook page to submit alternate names for HFCS, among which were “cellulite syrup” and “liquid suffering.” Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) suggested “enzymatically altered corn glucose,” which Dr. Weil thought was appropriately Frankenfoodish.
In truth, HFCS is not sugar. It’s a highly processed corn syrup resulting in a substance much sweeter than sugar and the corn syrup from which it was derived.
In contrast, cane sugar stalks are juiced and then put aside to let the liquid evaporate, leaving sugar crystals to form.
Dr. Weil opposes changing HFCS to any other name. He says, “The name as it stands is accurate, and the industry should not be allowed to circumvent the well-earned distrust HFCS has engendered. . . . My main worry is that the syrup’s cheapness, due to corn subsidies, allows manufacturers to sweeten a huge percentage of the American food supply. I believe that’s been a significant contributor to the obesity-diabetes epidemic.”
Weil continues. “I’m concerned that (HFCS) has disruptive effects on metabolism, because the body doesn’t utilize fructose well, and humans have never before consumed it in such quantity. . . . Some evidence suggests that fructose may disturb liver function, and unlike glucose, doesn’t appear to trigger the process by which the body tells us it is full.”
What can we do to avoid the prevalence of HFCS in foods? Read labels.
So. What’s your take on Corn Sugar vs HFCS?