The word is out on high fructose corn syrup, and the food industry is getting the message. Some companies, such as Hunt’s Ketchup, Gatorade, and Snapple have removed it from their products and public concern over health risks associated with this man made sweetener has caused consumption to dip to a 20 year low according to a recently published AP article by Emily Fredrix. So what does the food industry do? Repackage of course.
Pending FDA approval, the new name for this product will be corn sugar. Apparently there is a focus group somewhere that has told the Corn Refiners Association that corn sugar is a less onerous name and that we, the uninformed masses, will skip over this seemingly innocent innocuous ingredient while searching for HFCS in the ingredients list and deem the food healthy in it’s absence. After all how bad can “corn sugar,” be?
The article goes on to quote people with long titles like “executive director of the center for science in the public interest,” who go on and on about this poor little, “ highly disparaged and highly misunderstood,” product. Really? I wondered at times while reading this article if I was reading an old script from a Seinfeld episode. What was really rich was that the author independently states that, “there is little scientific evidence,” to support the public’s perception that HFCS is more harmful and more likely to cause obesity than, “ordinary sugar.” I’ve got 2 words for Ms Fredrix: Pub Med. A quick search on this medical reference search engine will yield numerous studies that reveal the true nature of poor little high fructose corn syrup.
Between 1970 and 1990, the consumption of HFCS has increased by more than 1,000% and now accounts for more than 40% of all caloric sweeteners in our food and beverages. During that same time the incidence of obesity and diabetes has followed suit with unprecedented increases. As I’ve written in prior blogs, and referenced by the way Ms. Fredrix, there are countless studies linking HFCS to many of the western diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis, all of which lead to the leading cause of death in the US – heart disease.
So the latest ploy it seems is to attempt to dupe the public with a name changing shell game. Fortunately, we are becoming more informed and less willing to blindly eat whatever the food industry puts on our shelves and the stats back this up with the drop in consumption of what in my honest medical opinion is an unhealthy product. So keep up the good work in reading your labels and refusing to purchase the foods that contain it. You body will thank you and eventually the food industry will get the message and go back to good old fashion sugar to sweeten our foods. The link to my prior blog on this subject is listed below.
Until next time, Stay healthy and live well… Dr. Mike