One of the perks of being publicly interested in health and nutrition is that people send me articles all of the time. While I try my hardest to stay on top of what’s going on NOW with nutrition, it definitely helps when things are sent my way! Yesterday my friend David sent me an article on high fructose corn syrup. Apparently the Corn Refiners Association, which is responsible for producing high fructose corn syrup, has submitted a request to the federal government to switch the name used on food labels from “high fructose corn syrup” to “corn sugar”.
Apparently high fructose corn syrup has gained enough negative publicity lately that American consumption of foods containing this product has fallen to a 20-year low. Many believe that high fructose corn syrup is hard for our body to process, and therefore is more likely than sugar or other sweeteners to be stored as body fat and eventually lead to obesity.
The biggest culprit is probably soda. Most non-diet soda is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and as we all know, kids, teens and adults all drink too much soda. It’s of course also used to sweeten many processed foods, including anything from baked goods to cereals. However, high fructose corn syrup is also found in foods you would not necessarily expect to find it in, such as breads, English muffins, and pretzels.
The president of the Corn Refiners Association says the new name will “help people understand the sweetener better.”
Hmmm. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I don’t necessarily support producers trying to “trick” consumers on food labels. However, I strongly support consumers being proactive, educating themselves on what is in the food they are eating, and taking initiative when it comes to their diet, nutrition and health. So, consider this your education. Now you know that if you see “corn sugar” on a label, it’s just another name for high fructose corn syrup and you should make your decision about whether or not you’ll purchase the product accordingly.
This is just one more reason why I advocate a mostly whole foods-based diet. When you’re eating whole foods, you don’t have to worry about lengthy ingredient lists and foreign ingredients that may or may not live inside your body for the rest of your life, interfering with its natural balance. Whole foods taste better, inspire people to cook and get excited about what they are eating, and are undeniably healthier for you and your family.