High Fructose Corn Syrup Soon May Be 'Corn Sugar'

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."


High fructose corn syrup, that ubiquitous refined sweetener found in everything from jams and sodas to breads and tomato sauce, has taken quite a beating in the last couple of years. Documentaries such as King Corn vilified the ingredient. Conscientious consumers started reading labels and asking for less refined sweeteners. Companies such as Gatorade, Hunt's ketchup and Thomas English muffins publicly removed the ingredient from its products. ("Now with no high fructose corn syrup" boast packages in every aisle of the supermarket.) And the industry took note.

First came the "Sweet Surprise," a $20-$30 million campaign by the Corn Refiners Association to boost the reputation of HFCS. (Watch the ads here.) Now, the Corn Refiners Association has decided to petition the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow for a name change. High fructose corn syrup would be known as called corn sugar, if the industry gets its way.

According to SparkPeople dietitian Becky Hand, "theories abound that HFCS has a greater impact on blood glucose levels than regular sugar (sucrose). However, research has shown that there are no significant differences between HFCS and sugar (sucrose) when it comes to the production of insulin, leptin (a hormone that regulates body weight and metabolism), ghrelin (the "hunger" hormone), or the changes in blood glucose levels. In addition, satiety studies done on HFCS and sugar (sucrose) have found no difference in appetite regulation, feelings of fullness, or short-term energy intake." (Read more about HFCS and its effects on the body here.)

Still, SparkPeople members and the general public have qualms about consuming it. In recent polls, we asked:

Do you tend to avoid high fructose corn syrup? 75% said yes (more than 18,000 people).

We also asked: Do you believe that high fructose corn syrup is worse for you than regular sugar? 57% said yes to that question.

Changing the name of a product has boosted its appeal to consumers in the past--prunes became dried plums; rapeseed oil became canola oil.

What do you think about the name change? What do you believe to be the industry's intentions? Is the name change, as Corn Refiners Association president Audrae Erickson says, intended to alleviate confusion about the ingredient? Or is it simply a way to trick consumers wary of HFCS to consumer products that actually do contain it? How do you feel about high fructose corn syrup?

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The more I read on other sites like DrMercola dot com, and try these out for myself, I'm finding out that just simply avoiding any corn syrup or fructose (other than what is naturally found in a WHOLE piece of fruit) does my body good. The name change is irritating and just tells me that the government is meddling a little too much in our health. Think about it - if we all get sick because of eating HFCS newly renamed "innocent ole' corn sugar" then we'll have to use the health care system and the people behind all that get rich as a result of our illnesses. And yes, I realized that's a gross over-simplification and there is more to the situation than just that. But still. Just my opinion. Report
If the studies show that there is no difference to affect health then what is the big commotion all about. Reality is that I had been avoiding it due to an article read in SparkPeople. With the new results out I will no longer avoid it. Those of us that have read the negative articles are why the polls are so negative. With the new studies I will not avoid them anymore.

The fact remains that it is still another processed sugar, which no matter what is not something to be excessively indulged. It has to be limited in our diets but so does regular sugar. Let's face it, they are both making us fat! Just get controll of your sweets intake overall! Report
i just hate it--contrary to some opinions, i did start noticing the taste, items with it and similar items that didn't have it. I was totally grossed out when I read the label of one of my tomato soups because it just didn't taste quite right to me (after drinking oodles of v8 the past weeks before)--it was the 2nd ingredient. Its Soup! why would you need corn syrup in tomato soup! gah! no matter what i did with it, it tasted like glorified ketchup, and i couldn't stand it. I hate ketchup because of that stupid stuff they put in it, and this wasn't any different. I actually started making my own soup with V8 as the base--i haven't touched that tomato soup in over a year now. gah!

I just don't understand why they feel certain items need corn syrup in them--its proof of how its used as a filler just to save money if some cases instead of, oh, i don't know, more Tomatoes! gah! Report
This stuff is long acting poison no matter what they call it.
The real key to eating healthy is to shop from the perimeter of the grocery store whenever possible. Keep your foods real. After all, do you really want to eat something you can't pronounce? Those sorts of things also come along with the HFCS.
Big agriculture, along with its D. C. lobbyists want us all to eat this kind of junk because it profits them twice. Once when we buy it, and then again when we have to buy drugs when it makes us sick because of diabetes, heart disease, obesity in general.
I think that this attempt to change the name of HFCS to corn sugar is like a wolf in sheeps clothing. It is bad for you and there are significant differences in the way your body treats HFCS and sugar. While both should be avoided HFCS is far more dangerous to the body than sugar. Check out the link to this article. Ther is new research that has not been done by people who have a vested interest in the results. Perhaps the author need to read this article.
Changing the name will only confuse and trick consumers that are trying to make healthy choices. Boo! Report
Changing the name won't change anything at all. Won't change my migraine trigger to something else besides corn. When I eat corn in any shape (corn on the cob, HFCS, Maltodextrin etc...) I can be guaranteed that I will have a migraine within about 60 minutes... so, I'll just have to learn more names of things that I will need to avoid. Report
Sugar by another name is still sugar!! Report
My buying habits changed as soon as I read an article regarding the dangers of HFCS. I was amazed when I took inventory in my pantry and realized that so many of the foods I buy regularly contained HFCS. I will be certain to be on the look out if they change the name. Report
we must continue to spread the word to the unsuspecting, that just because the name has changed, its still the same stuff that is making us fat and sick and making our children sugar junkies.
keep spreading the word. Report
The advertising campaign is digusting. I work in the health industry and I have seen more than just a few people see significant health increases from removing HFCS from their diets. It doesn't matter if the blood sugar impact is the same for both, which is bad anyway because too much is not in any way healthy, HFCS has many other negative impacts on your body. Name change or not it is only a matter of time until "corn sugar" comes under fire as well. Report
I agree about the taste. I bought some mango jam from Hawaiian Plantations when I was in Hawaii and thought it tasted really great. I have since bought more over the internet. Sorry, I like a spot of jam with my morning toast sometimes. Then I noticed it was made with cane sugar. I have since noticed a HUGE difference in the flavor of food made with cane sugar and food made with HFCS. I seek out the former and avoid the latter. Sugar is still sugar though. Report
First to Muslimah_AK
I know that some of the cool, smooth, creamy treats that I love so much are made with milk from cows that have been injected with the bovine growth hormone known as rBGH.

And here’s what’s really annoying: Many of these products have labels that claim the contents are “all natural” – which is not exactly accurate, considering that rBGH is genetically modified.

According to a recent article by nutritionist John Robbins, just about every major brand of ice cream allows rBGH: Breyers, Haagen Dazs, Edy’s, Nestle, Good Humor, Popsicle, and Klondike Bars.

rBGH contains high levels of natural growth factor (IGF-1), which your digestive system easily absorbs. And the problem here is that high levels of IGF-1 have been linked to colon, breast, and prostate cancers.

As for the HFCS

Dr. Anthony Heaney and his UCLA team recently exposed pancreatic cancer cells to fructose. They found that fructose prompted a dramatic growth of the malignant cells.

In the journal Cancer Research, they wrote, "These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation." And even worse, they believe that fructose may have this effect on other types of cancer cells--not just pancreatic cancer.

In conclusion, you can't trust anything you eat, unless you raise it yourself.
I know to not use it or use it sparingly. Read your labels whatever the name is Report
I have seen arguments both ways. The safest thing, really, is to minimize added sugar altogether. As for the corn farmers, they can grow something else. I suppose if you were living in Virginia, you would have been concerned about the tobacco farmers. Health concerns may influence the economy, but really, the economy should be a secondary concern. Do what is best for you first. Report
Regardless of the pros and cons of HFCS or any other food ingredient, if I actively choose to avoid HFCS as part of my diet, why should an industry be allowed the attempt to circumnavigate my choice? Since I try to avoid eating pork for various reasons, should the pork industry be allowed to change the name of pork products to "KindaChicken" or "FauxBeef"?

And why do my fellow consumers feel the need to try to "correct" my beliefs that HFCS should be consumed in very low quantities or avoided altogether? For those of you saying sugar is sugar, why do you care what the rest of us believe? Why do you care if I would rather consume honey or sugar in the raw rather than HFCS or refined sugar?

Share information but quit trying to change my mind. Report
HFCS or Corn Sugar still would never be anything I eat. I avoid corn unless its organic. Most of our corn products as well as corn itself is most likely GMO and therefore not good for human or animal comsumption. Report
Another example of how the food industry tricks us into unknowingly consuming
food products in combinations that have high palatability, low nutrition and are addictive! Report
Sorry, sugar is not sugar! HFCS is metabolized differently in the body. As a biologist who also has a Master's in biochemistry, I have learned not to take the word of industry or the media when it comes to accurate information regarding nutrition. Instead I actually read the scientific studies for myself. Of course studies funded by the Corn Refiners Association show no deleterious effects what-so-ever. What a surprise. Independent studies tell a different story. When evaluating scientific studies, one must keep in mind the funding source, the experimental protocol and the statistical analysis used. Bottom line, I do purchase anything with HFCS and urge my students to do the same! Let them change the name, consumers are becoming increasingly educated and are not as easy to fool anymore! Report
As long as you eat it in moderation, there really isn't anything wrong with it unless you have a condition. It is just like fat...you need to intake some fat when you eat to keep your body working like normal but it really is about balance and moderation. I am originally from Iowa and having 'corn sugar' taken out of foods or not being purchased could hurt the corn industry, hurting farmers and the whole ecomony. Report
i think that the proposed name change is just a marketing ploy to be able to sell more of their product. true, those of us reading about it will be aware of the change when reading the product labels, but this is the first i've heard about it. other consumers who have an opinion about the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of high fructose corn syrup will be none the wiser if it's not more widely broadcast. also, i have to say that i get aggravated every time i see one of those corn company ads come on. seriously, they're going to tell us that a highly processed & refined product is as safe for our bodies as a much more natural form? they obviously feel that a name change will fool us as easily as their ads do. :S Report
With any food, it's best to consume it in its rawest form. Eating anything highly preserved, processed or artificial is bad for us. And HFCS likely comes from GMO corn, which is bad for us. The biggest problem is that people want everything ASAP, so then they end up having majority of their foods processed and packed with junk. If there's an igredient in something that you aren't able to pronounce, then it's likely not good for you. This is a VERY good list to go by when it comes to which foods to consume: http://www.aim4health.com/tenfoods.

Even microwaves make our food's vitamins inert and turn many into carcinogens. So, for me, I cook everything the same way it would've been cooked 50 years ago (it actually tastes much better, too). http://articles.mercola.com/sites/a
I don't care what you name it, people who are aware are going to blog and let you know what the "new" name is for HFCS and I think theres still gonna be a bunch of people who avoid it. like for example - I only like to eat breyers ice cream cuz theres absolultey NO hfcs, and its more satisfying to me than the other stuff. corn isn't that great for you. if you have to treat it the some other chemical just to eat it so you won't get malnourished - thats scary. Report
O.K. I love sweet things, but I do avoid HFCS. Cane sugar is naturally sweet, and the less refined, like raw sugar, molases, the better for you. Yes it is still a caloric food, but have you ever eaten the cane? It is already naturally sweet. Have you ever eaten the corn that they make HFCS from? I saw a documentary about this corn. It is unpalatable, period. You CAN'T eat it. It is genetically modified, and a special sprays are applied that only work with the genetically engeneered corn. The spray would kill any other plant. So what does that say? The corn is used to make HFCS, and to feed cattle, because it's not fit for human consumption. It's goal is to mass produce and be cheap to the consumer. The government is behind these crops, a term for it, is Subsidized, which means that if the grower doesn't make enough money off of the crop, the government pays the farmer so he can keep growing it. This is a product that the government wants to keep growing. I think they are behind all the adds we are seeing. And did you know that they feed our cattle that we eat, this stuff? The cows have to be slaughtered at a certain time, because if they let them live long enough, the cows will die from eating the subsidized corn. I think it is just perpostrous what the food industry will do to make money. Report
HFCS is not dangerous because it's a synthetic chemical concoction. Like sugar from cane or beets, it's just another heavily refined carbohydrate, just another food industry product. HFCS *should* be avoided, but if you think cane or beet sugar is any healthier, you're just fooling yourself. Report
I believe the problem with HFCS has more to do with the abundance of (falsley) cheap corn and all the products we've decided to make from it - from meat to HFCS.

That being said, HFCS is an engineered chemical creation. It's labeled differently than regular old corn syrup because it's not the same thing. I would be uncomfortable (as I am with much of the labeling we do) calling it a sugar, and pretending it's sugar just like beat or cane sugar when it's nothing close to it from a natural standpoint. Report
I started avoiding foods with high fructose corn syrup partly because I heard negative things about it, but also because it seems like a good indicator overall if this is a food I want to eat. From what I've seen while reading labels, foods with HFCS seem to be more likely to also contain partially hydrogenated oils, "natural" flavors, and other additives that I just don't want to eat. Report
This year I made the resolution to cut all HFCS and most sugar out of my diet, and BOOM I lost 30 pounds. When the weight started to drop off it was easier for me to continue to make healthy changes and move around more. I was kind of a sloth during the summer heat but now that it's cooler again I'm re-motivated. It's pretty clear to me that HFCS, by any name, is a monster.
Whatever on the name change. Dieticians and other folks who spread the word about ingredients will then start telling people to avoid corn sugar. Will it happen over night no. I really do not know enough on high fructose corn syrup to make a decision on it. Due to media (commercials and such) americans are left hanging on if it is good or not. Personally, if it is bad I would hope the Drug and Food Administration would ban it. Still don't get why those that are harmful to us are allowed to be produced. Report
I agree with someone's comment before me. Anything highly process is more harmful for you. Items in their natural state are better for your health. The only reason they would try to change the name is to make consumers go back to purchasing those products that contain HCFS. I watch the sugar content in everything I eat. With science backing it's ill effects, it's hard to believe those that say that information is now incorrect. I'll keep doing what I'm currently doing and eating what makes me feel better and those are items with less sugar and less processed chemicals. Report
Corn sugar is used because it's cheaper, not because it's sweeter, and it's cheaper because our government (in the US) subsidizes the corn industry like crazy. I think there needs to be more focus, in general, on what it does to the economy and the environment because those will end up being the real issues in the long run. Report
If they leave the word "sugar" out, that might be trickery. Corn Sugar has been around since... forever. Are we supposed to be concerned over the "Corn Sugar", or the "Fructose" (fruit sugars) ? It seems that we tend to less vilify our "Cane Sugar" by just calling it "sugar". I think that since corn sugar already exists it would be wrong to call HFCS, "Corn Sugar". Miss-information, yes. Trickery? No... just call it "Fruit Sugar / Corn Sugar". Report
This is very interesting. This past weekend, my husband and I were cleaning out his grandfather's attic and found some old Coke cans and bottles from the early 1980's. Second ingredient? "Corn sugar". Report
If the industry wants people to believe that HFCS is harmless, they're going to have to counter the scientific research, such as that conducted at Duke University Medical Center which links HFCS with NAFLD (diabetes of the liver) and liver scarring - two not so insignificant things. Frankly, anytime I hear of an "industry" campaigning against science for the sake of a dollar, I can generally safely assume it's at the expense of the consumer in some way. In this particular way, I would equate it to the criminal offense of, at the least, aggravated assault and, over a lifetime, negligent homicide. But, I'm not concerned with what they call it. I'm not an idiot - I can read a label. And in the end, the name change changes nothing. We will simply help educate one another on the ills of corn sugar, knowing it is HFCS. The real crime of the industry would have been NOT telling us they were changing the name. But, ignore the hype and bickering - don't listen to the media, don't listen to me or anyone else here, and certainly don't listen to any industry whose primary goal is profit. Hunt down the research results for yourself. Read the methods used and their findings and make your own "educated" decision. After all, this is your life. Who are you going to allow to tell you how to live it? Report
Oh it's definitely a ploy to "trick" consumers that are consciously avoiding HFCS. However those consumers will be easily "tricked" because they didn't do they're own research and truly believe that HFCS is worse for the body than other sugars. I have no affiliation with the corn industry but they are right. Sugar is sugar. None of it is good in excess or eaten without protein and fat to minimize the insulin spike. Report
BPANTZ, in my case, I do not villify HFCS without warrant. My body knows the difference between sugar and HFCS, which shoots my blood sugar up, then crashes it. I cannot eat HFCS in even the smallest quantities, such as the amount that is found in salad dressing.

When a product changes its name, I look for the reason. If rape seed oil changes its name to canola oil, I think that is appropriate and justified because the negative association with the crime of rape has nothing to do with the product. When high fructose corn syrup changes its name to corn sugar to avoid a justified (IMHO) bad reputation, it is dishonest and reprehensible. Report
I'll take the word of my doctor when it comes to HFCS, or whatever they end up calling it. He includes HFCS on his top ten list of "foods" to avoid. I use the quote marks around "foods" because HFCS is so overly processed, it's not even food anymore. As my doctor explains it, HFCS has TWICE the sugar load of ordinary table sugar. That means that if you see 10 grams of HFCS on a label, it's like eating 20 grams. And.... you can inject sugar directly into your veins and still live (not that anyone would want to -- this is for illustration purposes only!) It would not be good for you, but you'd live. Inject HFCS directly into your veins, and you DIE. The bottom line -- we as consumers need to do our OWN research, and not rely on mainstream media or advertising by the food corporations who want to sell this stuff. Talk to your DOCTOR like I did, then make your own decisions. As for me, I will continue to avoid HFCS under any name. And when I shop with my 9-year-old son, I get so proud when he reads a label and declares "Nope! We can't buy this because it has high fructose corn syrup in it!" :) Report
I respectfully suggest that deception is not the main goal of the proposed change of terminology for HFCS. It is public relations. We have been villifying corn syrup for a few years now, apparently without warrent, because we seek to find a scapegoat for our problem with our weight and health. I am as guilty as anyone of trying to find a reason for being 100 pounds overweight that doesn't point to myself. We are intelligent people, and those of us with weight challenges are perhaps some of the most informed about nutrition.

If the first ingredient in a product is now "corn sugar", it seems unlilely that we will all breath a sigh of relief that the corn syrup is gone. We know better, let's give ourselves some credit for being as smart as we are. If there is no inherent harm in the product, why are we making such a fuss? Other than trying to place blame where it most likely does not belong, I cannot find a valid reason for all the energy we are expending on this issue.

Let them change the way we identify the product. If the current name is creating an unwarranted bias against the product, then changing the way it is identified is the righ thing to do. Report
The sugar may process the same, but it is NOT the only concern. I work with children with autism, and this research indicates how HFCS (and other factors) negatively impact behavior and cognition, for starters.
"High fructose corn syrup has been shown to contain trace amounts of mercury as a result of some manufacturing processes, and its consumption can also lead to zinc loss." and "Since high fructose corn syrup and artificial food color additives are common ingredients in many foodstuffs, their consumption should be considered in those individuals with nutritional deficits such as zinc deficiency or who are allergic or sensitive to the effects of mercury or unable to effectively metabolize and eliminate it from the body."

Having lots of extra hidden sugar in your food isn't good for ANYONE. You can't limit sugar intake if you can't find it. (Granted, I can read the words "corn sugar" the same as I can read HFCS.) The industry definitely thinks the public is stupid and easily duped. I know I'm not. Report
I believe that they are trying to trick the public. Food manufacturers know that a vast majority of the people are trying to get healthier so they think that just by naming something bad something different will make us overlook it. No matter how you name it, sugar is bad for you !!! Don't let them reel you in, they are the ones killing us !!! Report
I think it's kind of a silly thing that it's being made such a big deal about. Regardless of what kind of sugar it is, natural or refined, we need to minimize it in our diet. Regardless of what kind it is, a little bit is okay. If I start seeing 'corn sugar' show up on lables, I'll know what it is. Who cares what it's called. Report
First to HISARTIST: Sugar is made up of 50/50 fructose and glucose but they are bound together so in order for your body to metabolize it, it must be broken down first. On the other hand, HFCS is made up of about "55% fructose and 42% glucose" according to Wikipedia and they are independent molecules so your body doesn't have to work to break them down. They also metabolize faster and differently than the bound molecule. I'm not going to go into the details but they are most definitely different sugars and your body does not treat them the same way. You can do research online and find more information on that (i.e. "metabolizing high fructose corn syrup").

As for my opinion, I am still going to avoid HFCS or corn sugar. They just put too much of it in products! But I also avoid products with too much cane sugar too! Also, its way to processed to be considered natural. I don't eat many packaged and processed foods anyway, so I will keep avoiding anything that isn't natural if I can!
~Ang Report
No matter what some studies have said (and I really wonder who has paid for these studies to be done), HFCS is not (in my opinion) the same as sugar because it has gone through a chemical process to make it what it is. Therefore, it is not the same (show me the chemical make up of the molecule...that will really show if it is the "same" as sugar). I agree that this is a bait and switch on the American public. However, it is obvious by the health problems that this nation is dealing with that too many people don't really care what is in the food that they ingest anyway. It's in the foods that we feed our children in our schools (hence the 30% obesity rate among our young people), it's in the things we drink and the foods we choose out of convienience...and apparently we don't care because we don't speak up to those who can change things. Unless we are prepared to just stop buying this stuff and go back to eating the foods that God made, unadulterated and healthy and fulfilling for our bodies, we are going to continue to get this chemistry experiment disguised as food. Report
Do food manufacturers really think we are stupid? They change the size of cans, but charge the same price; or they change the name of an ingredient and think we won't figure that out. The public is more savvy than they think. Report
changing the name should not be allowed when university studies show just how bad this stuff is. To me it is kind of like when they have "light" cigarettes. Either way you name it it will kill you. This is just another way to fool the american public. If you still consider this stuff okay to consume read these studies. http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/
As someone who is allergic to corn, I will avoid food/drinks with anything containing corn. And even if the label was changed to say corn sugar, those who are adverse to consuming corn syrup, would probably be adverse to eating corn sugar. Report
You know, I'm just old enough to remember what regular Pepsi tasted like with regular sugar. Then, in the past year, Pepsi came out with a limited edition "Throwback" version with no HFCS and with REAL cane sugar. HUGE difference in taste and tolerance levels. I cannot drink the non-diet Pepsi with the HFCS AT ALL, but I can sip on a serving of the Throwback without my stomach rebelling. Coke did the same thing, for an even more limited time (read: "already gone"), but I don't drink Coke and hubby doesn't want to mess up his diabetes any more than it is. My point, however, is that there IS a difference in the quality and flavor of the two drinks. And Pepsi Throwback is still available. Report
We as consumers need to turn the tables and quit buying the stuff. We have created a monster in the name of convenience. Report
This was a very interesting article. But I do not think that they will be allowed to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup to corn syrup. It would be fraudulent, because there already is a product at the store that you can buy to bake with called corn syrup. High-fructose corn syrup is very different from regular corn syrup. One of the ways it differs is that it begins to enter your blood stream in your mouth, wheareas corn syrup has to be digested in your stomach and intestines. For that reason, high-fructose corn syrup makes a lot of people ill. The labeling needs to stay the same to serve those sensitive to the product, those with serious allergies and food sensitivities. Report
Sugar is sugar is sugar is sugar! Read the grams of sugar on the label. Report