It's all still sugar

Moved by this story on Crop To Cuisine, which recaps recent maneuvering on the "corn sugar" battlefield, I renew my support for the Corn Refiners Association bid to rebrand its high fructose corn syrup.


Yes, I'm being redundant, but I am so rarely on that side that I'm indulging the sensation. The refiners seek the change because HFCS has won such a villainous reputation that some products are now promoted as having "real" sugar instead.

It is not good when marketers are selling their product by crowing that they left out your product.

One reason that HFCS has fallen in public opinion is that its introduction into the market in the '70s roughly coincides with the obesity explosion. One could easily conclude that it was HFCS's fault.

But an equally valid conclusion is that because HFCS was so much cheaper, sweetening anything became more economical. So that's what manufacturers did — they sweetened practically everything: bread, meats, nuts, salad dressings, cereals, etcetera forever.

So it wasn't the chemical structure of HFCS that brought obesity, it was its economics. Regardless, we got the obesity epidemic.

The much commented-on New York Times Magazine story by Gary Taubes — say what you will, he does draw a crowd — argues that HFCS and other refined sugars (beets and cane are the two most common sources) — are essentially the same, and that the public issue we're facing isn't one or the other, but either.

That, of course, is where I'd already come down. How can the addition of lots of sugar to our diets not have a large — even an obese — effect?

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
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