As the saying goes, “You are what you eat.” So then most people would then be at least half high fructose corn syrup. But if the Corn Refiners Assn. gets its way we’ll soon be just as fat, but be corn sugar instead. This is what Corn Refiners Assn. has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to do, change the name of high fructose corn syrup to corn sugar because of the large stigma that is attached to the sweetener, according to the Los Angeles Times. Because of many studies that have given high fructose corn syrup a bad name, brands such as Kraft and Sara Lee have taken the ingredient out of their products. In order to stop the loss in profits that the Corn Refiners Assn. members are seeing from the public’s push for healthier food, they decided to try a name change. The big question here is whether or not a simple name change will be able to rescue high fructose corn syrup manufacturers from their slowing sales.
High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener that is made by taking cornstarch and changing the sugar in it into fructose, because it has a longer shelf life, according to the MayoClinic. This is also cheaper then using sugar in processed foods. High fructose corn syrup started to become more widely used in the 1970’s. By the 1980’s it could be found in almost every processed food on the market after Coke and Pepsi started using it, according to ehow. By 2005, Americans were consuming about 28.4 kg of high fructose corn syrup each year. So as the rise in use of high fructose corn syrup began to grow, the obesity rate in America began to grow and so the stigma that is still attached to it began.
So is there really something to this relationship between high fructose corn syrup and obesity? Or is it just a coincidence? The American Medical Association said in 2008 that high fructose corn syrup didn’t contribute to the obesity rate anymore than other sweeteners that are used in processed foods. However, a recent study by Princeton University begs to differ. According to CNN, a study done by researcher Miriam Bocarsly, shows that high fructose corn syrup is worse than plain sugar or other sweeteners. Rats were fed water sweetened with sugar, and water that was sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. The rats fed the high fructose corn syrup gained more belly fat over the six month period. This was the latest blow against the Corn Refiners Assn.
So based on all that the public already knows about high fructose corn syrup, a name change might trick some in the beginning, but since Americans are on a health kick these days, people will start asking questions about corn sugar too, if the name is ever changed. The Corn Refiners Assn. already sponsored a commercial trying to debunk the idea that high fructose corn syrup is worse than sugar, but that obviously didn’t work either. Since this will probably about two years before the FDA makes a decision on changing the name, high fructose corn syrup will probably almost be phased out by then. As where already seeing companies moving away from the sweetener, even changing the name years from now will be too little too late.
Mary Ellen Podmolik, “Trade group seeks name change for ‘high-fructose corn syrup” Los Angeles
Katherine Zeratsky, “Nutrition and healthy eating” MayoClinic
James Rada Jr., “The History of High Fructose Corn Syrup” ehow
Hanna Raskin, “Latest high-fructose corn syrup study generates buzz, debate” CNN