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16
Sep

This one falls under the “I’ll take “Get a Clue” for $800, Alex”-heading.  Yes, I’m that agog – still.

Two days ago, the NYT health blog had an article up about how the Corn Refiner’s Association is aiming to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup.  The petition has come before the FDA because of the bruising HFCS has taken in the media, in popular culture, and because so many people (and companies) are abandoning the stuff in droves.

I’ve had my own little tet-a-tet with the CRA over calling HFCS “the devil himself” in an AnnArbor.com article in February – and I’m sure this article, although a lower-profile than my A2.com writing, will not exactly please the group’s president, either.

Audrae Erickson, the president of the CRAA, is quoted in the NYT as saying that “Clearly the name is confusing consumers.  Research shows that ‘corn sugar’ better communicates the amount of calories, the level of fructose and the sweetness in this ingredient.”

Ummm… Ms. Erickson, I don’t think people are “confused” about whether or not they want to consume HFCS.  I think most people have researched it fairly well – at least, well enough for their comfort level.  Some of us have researched it significantly more than “well enough” and sound the alarm bell when things like this are attempted.

The CRA has claimed for several years now that nutritionally, sugar and HFCS are virtually the same.  And yet, pancreatic tumor cells, when placed in a medium of HFCS in a laboratory, grew like mad.  Sugar has always fed tumor cells, but proliferation of tumor cells only happened in the HFCS medium.  Huh.  “Just like sugar,” eh?

Additionally, HFCS (like any form of fructose ingested without fibre and nutrients) is not metabolized by the pancreas, but heads straight for the liver.  There is some talk about how HFCS and other unmitigated forms of fructose can cause a host of health problems – from high blood pressure to high cholesterol.  This whole topic gets really complex, and if you want to read more, check out Dr. Mercola’s site and the search parameters here.  I am personally convinced not let the stuff in my home.  We have purged all HFCS-bearing foods and drinks from our diet and my husband has decided (on his own – not due to nagging!) that he won’t drink his favourite soda when it’s sweetened with HFCS.  He will gravitate towards cane-sugar sweetened sodas when they are in production, but that’s it.

So the upshot is that the CRA thinks we’re unintelligent and “confused” about their main product.  And that our “confusion” would be lessened with a name change.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not confused – and a name change, although business-savvy, seems borderline sneaky and deceitful to me.  Manufacturers aren’t going to start using it again just because a name changes when customers have spoken so clearly about wanting to avoid it, and this just seems another attempt to pull the wool over our eyes.

I, for one, am not letting my eyes be covered.  Baaah (humbug!).

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