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Would a Heavily Subsidized, Unhealthy Substance by Any Other Name..?
As the mounting pile of evidence that high fructose corn syrup is unhealthier than ordinary table sugar continues to grow, industry executives have buckled down and decided it's time for action. Honoring a longstanding American tradition, HFCS industry representatives have responded to that sprawling body of scientific research by doing what they do best -- launching a re-branding campaign. "High fructose corn syrup" may have (rightfully) acquired something of a stigma. But perhaps the public will forget all about the health ills associated with the stuff when it's called by its benign new name: "Corn Sugar". Yes, the Corn Refiners Association (the lobbying group and manufacturing association that represents makers of high-fructose corn syrup) have embarked on an effort to ditch the troublesome name tag that even a slew of expensive TV ads couldn't spruce up. It had seemed that the public had made up its mind on HFCS, and recognized that the stuff was unhealthy; but maybe that was simply a semantics issue.
Perhaps, with a name change, Americans will happily get back to the business of gobbling up the sugar substitute and supporting the pillar of the heavily subsidized corn industry with renewed vigor. Grist has more:
HFCS sales are at a 20-year low. More and more, science is indicating that the body metabolizes HFCS differently from table sugar in a way that increases the risk of diabetes, liver disease, and obesity. (Yes, we consume too many sweeteners of all kinds, but as I wrote in this recent post, there is evidence that this industrially extracted combination of fructose and glucose has more health consequences than the ones that humans have been consuming for for longer.) As the Corn Refiners president observed sadly, HFCS of late "has been highly disparaged and highly misunderstood."Awwwww. Poor guys -- the public has become unduly aware of the true nutritional value of their product. Time to try to confuse them again!
Also interesting to note is the retreat to the word "sugar" -- HFCS has become so maligned, and the current trend towards "natural" food products has grown so pronounced, that the corn industry is seeking to adopt the name of the very substance it once replaced. Either way, I have a hunch that Americans won't fall for this one, and that opinion of high fructose corn syrup -- excuse me, corn sugar -- will continue to plummet.