The Corn Refiners Association is asking the FDA to change the name of their much maligned sweetener from “high-fructose corn syrup” to “corn sugar.”
What’s in a name? Everything.
The association’s point is sugar is sugar and their product isn’t any worse for the body than sugar cane, so it shouldn’t be perceived as “poison.” That may be true, but where I take extreme offense with the CRA is in their multimedia advertising campaign which nearly paints the sweetener as health food.
Take for example a commercial which features a father walking with his young daughter through a corn field. He says he’s concerned with what his daughter eats, particularly high-fructose corn syrup. After speaking with medical and nutrition experts, he was relieved to find that HFCS and table sugar are nearly the same. Naturally, the next thought for the viewer is that consuming HFCS is just fine.
I don’t think so.
Americans use 60 pounds of corn sweeteners per capita per year and another 60 pounds of table sugar, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Our high sugar consumption has been linked to: obesity, diabetes and heart disease, not to mention its negative socioeconomic and environmental impact. Finally, it seems we’re waking up and taking note by kicking out (or trying to kick out) sweets starting with HFCS. But the CRA has another plan—a confusing name change—which may be in their best interest but is certainly not in ours.