The sugar in one can of pop: eight tablespoons. Image credit Lloyd Alter
High fructose corn syrup is like a third rail for food writers; when Brian was writing about "the mounting pile of evidence that high fructose corn syrup is unhealthier than ordinary table sugar", Marion Nestle was writing "HFCS is not poison. It is just a mixture of glucose and fructose in almost the same proportions as table sugar, sucrose....Let's give the Corn Refiners credit for calling a sugar a sugar." Michael Pollan was saying in Food Rule 4 that "sugar is sugar." I was writing "being natural doesn't mean better....We all consume far too much sweetener, wherever it comes from" and got fifty comments calling me an idiot.
But as we come down to the wire for public comment, Marion Nestle has reconsidered the issue. She cares now. I think she is right. Her petition entry reads:
The FDA should deny the Corn Refiners petition to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) to corn sugar.
I understand that the Corn Refiners Association uses my comments on its website to support its position. The website quotes comments I have made to the effect that HFCS is biochemically equivalent to sucrose. It is. But I do not believe that biochemical equivalence is a good reason for the FDA to agree to a name change at this point.
It is highly unlikely that public misunderstanding of nutritional biochemistry and the differential physiological effects of glucose vs. fructose will be addressed and corrected by changing the name of HFCS to corn sugar.
Therefore, the name change is not in the public interest. Its only purpose is to further the commercial interests of members of the Corn Refiners, and that is not one the FDA should be concerned about.
In the end, I still believe that real sugar is no better for one's health than high fructose corn syrup; they both rot your teeth and cause obesity. (A Princeton study did find some difference in the rate). And it is a moot point what they call the stuff; with demand for corn for biofuels, cattle feed and regular food, it is as expensive as sugar now. But there is no reason to not call the stuff what it is, instead of confusing people even more than they are now. Read more at Marion Nestle
So go to regulations.gov
Hit "submit a comment" and tell them what you think.
More on HFCS:
High Fructose Corn Syrup to be Rebranded as "Corn Sugar"
High Fructose Corn Syrup Producers on a Roll
Pepsi Throwback Uses Real Sugar, But Is It Better For You?
Study Shows You Get Fatter From HFCS Than From Sugar