Corn Refiners Try to Sweeten Image of High-Fructose Syrup

Corn Refiners Try to Sweeten Image of High-Fructose Syrup

Ingredient list - CC license by Flickr user nafmo.

 The Corn Refiners Association is attempting to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup, to eliminate what it calls “confusion” over the product among consumers.

The organization, which represents those who make the syrup, has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to let it call high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) “corn sugar” instead. The association said that consumers mistakenly view the product as high in fructose compared to other commonly used nutritive sweeteners such as table sugar and honey.

“High-fructose corn syrup got its name from the fact that it is higher in fructose relative to traditional corn syrup,” said the association in a statement. “In fact, the high-fructose corn syrup that is used in many foods, such as baked goods, is lower in fructose than table sugar.”

However, researchers from Princeton University published a paper in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior in March, suggesting that use of HFCS led to obesity in rats.

Although the team agreed that the concentration of fructose in HFCS was about half that of sugar, it also found that male rats given water sweetened with HFCS gained more weight that those given sugar-sweetened water.

Unsurprisingly, the association does not like Princeton’s report and cites an alternative study by the American Dietetic Assocation in December 2008, which said that the product was “nutritionally equivalent to sucrose (table sugar).”

“A continuing series of inexact scientific reports and inaccurate media accounts about high-fructose corn syrup and matters of health and nutrition have also increased consumer uncertainty,” sniffs the association in its statement.

HFCS is the most commonly used sweetener in the U.S., and is 60 percent cheaper than sugar. It is also a preservative for shelf foods.


Ingredient list - CC license by Flickr user nafmoThis article originally appeared at and is reprinted with permission.