Wednesday, September 29, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Last week, I was invited to sit in on a panel discussion hosted by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) and Mom Central regarding High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). With all the negative press HFCS has received in the past year or so, the CRA apparently is trying to do some damage control.  They recently petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration to start calling the ingredient “corn sugar,” arguing that a name change is the only way to clear up consumer confusion about the product.

Prior to the conference call, Mom Central asked us to raid our pantries looking for ~

  • Agave
  • Brown sugar or granulated white sugar
  • Cane juice, cane syrup, and cane juice crystals
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Corn sweeteners and corn syrup
  • Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Lactose, Maltose, or Sucrose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Stevia
  • Syrup 

I didn't even want to raid my kitchen because I know there is a high amount of sugar items.  A great site to get an idea of how much sugars you are consuming is Sugar Stacks.  Another site that helped when raiding the pantry was  

Back to the conference call.  When I first signed on, I was super excited to learn the truth about High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I will be honest, I somehow missed the part that the teleconference was being sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association.  There were some doctors and a couple of dietitians in attendance.   There job was to explain and convince the audience (consisting of mommy bloggers) that HFCS is no worse for you than any other type of sugar.  In fact, some other forms of sugar are even sweeter than HFCS.  On their website, they write,“Sugar is sugar whether it comes from corn, cane, beets, or bees. All are safe and natural. Your body can’t tell the difference between them.”

A desire to pinpoint causes of our country's obesity problems and a lot of misrepresented science has created a perfect storm for this sweetener. The Corn Refiners Association has launched a campaign to educate the public about HFCS and to dispel common myths that stem from the misperception that HFCS is high in fructose. They want to help us moderate our daily sugar intake and that of our families, and also help us become aware of the overall amount of sugar we consume each day.  

We got to see molecular diagrams, charts, and scientific reasoning, and more.  It even all sounded quite convincing. I was never totally in the No HFCS camp prior to the call, but I definately was working on cutting them out.  (I found it really really hard though).  They gave a lot of information during the hour+ phone conference, that I took with a grain of salt.  I wish that there was more research/studies/proof from someone that is not making money from the sales of HFCS, Sugar, Vitamins or Magic Pills to help us lose weight, etc.  It seems everyone has a different opinion, and it is hard figuring out the truth.  
I am willing to consider the idea that HFCS might not be the total evil we have been led to believe that it is.  A good piont being made in a lot of resources I have been reading, including at the conference that we are generally eating more sugars then ever before.

Regardless of how you feel about Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup, I highly recommend raiding your pantry.  Check out your ketchup, tomato sauce, salad dressing, jellies, powdered breakfast drinks, etc.  For ways to reduce your overall sugar intake, the Mayo Clinic has a great article.
I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of the Corn Refiners Association. I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate
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Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

I'm glad you said you were skeptical of the information given and that you recognized someone who wasn't on the HFCS payroll should have supplied information.

CRA keeps telling us it isn't the type of sugar but the quantity of sugar consumed. That may be true. But what if the type of sugar is causing a higher quantity of consumption?

I find products made with HFCS to have less quality of taste. So I notice I actually eat more, trying to satisfy the taste buds.

Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

I applaud you for scrutinizing the source of the info and seeking out more objective information.

And also for not saying "HFCS is confusing, just call it corn sugar".

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