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?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See more: news corn syrup sugar


It's still sugar. It's still refined. It's still the same thing. Even worse for those in the reading audience with corn allergies, some of them severe. You change the name to make it more "acceptable", you're putting more and more people at risk because the manufacturing giants think people will accept it more readily, when they previously removed it from their products altogether.

Everyone needs to give their heads a shake. 100 years ago, when cane sugar had to be transported at great cost from the West Indies, people either did without or used alternative sources for baking, etc. (like honey, or maple syrup, both minimally or not refined at all). Believe it or not, we had less problems with obesity and other weight-related illnesses.

With the introduction of readily available beet-sugar, this has all changed. Reducing sugar content, regardless of the source, in what we eat would be of benefit to EVERYONE, not just those with food-based illnesses and allergies.

Just my two-cents' worth. Report
Name change is a bait and switch, but does not change the affects and damages of the product. Reading labels is becoming more and more important. Report
I don't care what they call it. I avoid all added sugars - sugar, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, artificial sweeteners. They're all bad for you. I hate how sugar is in processed foods, no matter what kind it is. Report
Cass Sunstein (regulatory czar, author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness) has commented that there is a little "Homer Simpson" in people and therefore are easily manipulated. The change of name seems like we are being manipulated. Just because HFCS is getting perceived or known as "bad" for us the name should be changed? It makes me skeptical as to just how good the stuff is for us. We need to research for ourselves and follow our most educated path. I think for myself I'll still be reading the labels and watching all the sugar content. Report
There is such a HUGE push to get rid of HFCS yet people still think sugar alright. It's still sugar with a fancy name. Either push to get rid of both or back off. Another angle that no one seems to think about... HFCS is a largely American grown product. Is sugar? Report
I wish they'd eliminate it completely instead of changing the name, WTH!?! I personally will continue to avoid it as much as possible! Report
Regardless of what it is called, I'm infuriated that it is in practically every product on the market today, largely in part because of the government corn subsidies! Why, on earth, would anyone want either sugar OR HFCS in their chicken broth?!?! People honestly have no idea HFCS is in almost everything on the market. I find it to be an absolute travesty, and don't understand why there hasn't been a movement to eliminate it! Report
I just don't think it really matters whether I have sugar or corn syrup... they're both to be avoided as far as I'm concerned. The American Heart Association made a recommendation a while ago that said women should only consume 25g of added sugar in a day, but the average person has more than 3 times that in a day. Avoid all added sugars, and you'll be doing yourself a favor! Report
I do feel the name change is meant to fool consumers, and I'll still avoid it for other reasons. Report
Sugar is indeed sugar--anything ending in -ose: maltose, dextrose,etc. Some sugar can't be avoided: in order to use iodized table salt, one must buy the commercially prepared salt WHICH CONTAINS SUGAR! Report
I think there are too many studies. They all get the result they want to get, because that is the way they work. They just use what they need to get their point across. Sugar is sugar no matter where it comes from. Even maple syrup is a processed food. It starts as sap from the maple tree and is made into syrup...syrup does not grow. As for the HFCS, fructose and sucrose is different but it is still sugar and both need to be consumed only in amounts that your body needs. It is what is added with the HFCS in highly processed foods that make it any worse than beet or cane sugar. All things have to be processed to some degree to make the sugar. Report
Whatever the name, it will still be an indicator that the item in question is a highly processed and likely not to be "real" food or supportive of local diversified agriculture. We will still prefer not to eat it. Report
This sounds like the food manufacturers are simply trying to pull a fast one by us, the consumers. Regardless of that I won't be buying anything that has HFCS or Corn Sugar. I will still continue to purchase the basic ingredients like whole wheat flour, eggs, milk, etc and just make my own. At least I know whats in the bread I serve my family. Report
South Beach Living bars already lable the ingredient 'corn sugar.' Report
Sugar is sugar whether it comes from corn, beets or cane. One does not make you gain one more then the other. Eat too much of any of them and you will have health problems. Report
In the western world we have done everything possible to the ingredients of food to make it cheaper to the consumer ..... example in case - high fructose corn syrup. It is very wrong of the food industry to think that the public are uneducated, companies such as Hunts who made the corporate decision to extract this ingredient - means our voices are being heard. Don't let the name change - change your mind ..... its wrong every which way. Honey and maple syrup are great all natural sweeteners - and kids love them too. Thanks for reading! Report
The real problem is the way we process foods today. Engineered foods look great and don't have any taste. The more tasteless, the more sweetener is needed. Other foods are picked underripe to keep them fresh in shipping. When I was a child we ate fruit directly off the tree and vegetables straight from the garden. I know, in Indiana we have a lot of fresh food choices that were not available here 50 years ago. I still miss the flavor of the foods we grew in California.

If you compare ingredient panels from 20 years ago with today, you will notice how many more foods have some kind of sweetener added or have more sugar than they used to. Sugar makes me hunger so I eat more of those foods and gain weight. Report
I rarely drink soda at all. I became very ill from aspartame when it first came out and will never try any other artificial sugar after that experience. I have mixed reactions to the high fructose issue, but for me it is better than artificial sugar. Report
It's sad what the food manufacturers will do to unsuspecting consumers to trick them into eating HFCS or whatever garbage it is. Because HFCS is refined from the glut of corn on the market, you have no way of knowing if you are consuming GMOs (genetically modified). I read last year in "The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite" R. Kessler, M.D., the food manufacturers know by combining sweet, fat and salt, this combination powerfully stimulates the neurotransmitters that make you want more and more of a highly processed food. And we wonder why we're getting fatter? Report
SparkPeople.com has an article that states that there is little differences between sugar and corn syrup...consumers have been made afraid of the corn version of sugar, I feel because of the simple word "high", where there is nothing to fear. I see no "tricks" to it...it seems more of an issue of clearing up a bad rep. Report
wow, this really bothers me. It sounds like another way to dupe the average person. Why would they change the name if not in an attempt to re-market the same old stuff. It is so sad to look around and see so many children and young adults who are over weight. I'm not talking slightly either. All i know is that since i've cut out HFCS (as much as humanly possible) I feel MUCH better, i'm loosing belly fat and i have more energy. Report
Watch for the name change & check up on what's happening on the USFood & Drug Admin's website. Large food corporations are betting that the average consumer will buy anything with "corn sugar" versus "high fructose corn syrup" now. I check the food labels everytime I grocery shop, since I discovered that my LEGS FEEL HEAVY and I FEEL SLUGGISH and NEED TO SLEEP for at least 2 hours to clear out my system--do you notice this in your kids or other family members or co-workers after eating?? I've "tested" myself by eating processed foods with and without the HFCS, and I DO notice a difference in my energy level! Report
Changing the name is a nice way of saying "We're lying to you." Report
It's a matter of public relations. If the public perceives a problem then there is a problem. Changing the name may make it more acceptable in the public psyche, but less refined will always be better than highly processed.

On Doctor Oz a week ago, an expert said cutting HFCS alone will drop 10 pounds in the next year.

HFCS has no place in my diet any more. Sugar in general is to be avoided as much as possible, unless it is in fruit, honey, or otherwise naturally occurring. I'm systematically ridding the pantry of HFCS.

I don't really have a huge sweet tooth. Aside from fruit, the last sweets were at an ice cream social (which fit my narrow parameters for ice cream consumption and was budgeted in my calorie consumption in advance), 8 days ago. I do drink crystal light since giving up soft drinks a month ago, but I'd like to get the artificial sweeteners out of my life too. Report
I avoid HFCS, but Thomas and other bakeries removed it and put in SPLENDA an even worse chemical in my opinion.
Just leave the name alone and take it out of items it need not be in. Like hot dogs, we never eat those either but Grandkids are fed them UGH. Report
I was so troubled by this article yesterday that I had to come back and reread it today along with the comments section. I am even more disturbed, since so many people are adopting the "sugar is sugar" attitude or are not searching out the research for themselves. This seeming support of HFCS by SparkPeople, along with the apparently paid ads in the "Sweet Scam" video series are undermining my confidence in the integrity of SparkPeople. I cannot in good conscience recommend this site for sound medical advice or weight loss help if this kind of compromise is going on.

MiezeKatze has the "taste test" thing right on w/the comparison w/Mexican Coke, for example. Check it out! The coke w/"real sugar doesn't leave that horrid after taste, nor does it leave you craving "more"... Report
I'm wondering...if there is nothing wrong with HFCS, they why change the name? I think it is a grand deception...and I think a lot of people are going to fall for it. Report
They can call it whatever they want and it still will not be welcomed in my house. Report
I know for sure that I feel different and more sluggish after consuming drinks with HFCS vs drinks with regular sugar. Report
I think it's to trick the public....sad situation. I do not use HFCS. It wreaks havoc with my husband's system. Poison. Report
Hmm... interesting. For those saying that HFCS is the same as regular sugar, and it's all hype I wholeheartedly disagree. Without looking to studies to back me up, I can tell you for a fact that HFCS is definitely sweeter than sugar. Sweeter = you want more of it = Bad.

For doubters, go to the store and do your own personal taste test! If you have access to Mexican Coke (which uses cane sugar, not HFCS) or even the new sodas (Pepsi throwback, etc.) made from regular sugar, take a sip of it. Then take a sip of regular HFCS Coke. It's SOOOO much sweeter! BLECH!

Although, like others said .... really the key is to avoid sugar altogether as best you can. Report
Sugar is sugar is sugar. If you're watching your sugar intake, then I don't see why it matters whether it's called HFCS or corn sugar. I don't think anyone would be fooled, but I DO think if you're bothered by the name HFCS, corn sugar is easier on the psyche. Report
I will never try it.. Wont allow it in my home!! Report
I think a lot of people are going to get tricked and the backlash is not going to good for them! Report
It's TOTALLY to trick consumers. There are folks that are working to avoid HFCS that may not be paying attention to the news and stories like these. They're going to be consuming HFCS or "corn syrup," the thing they wanted to avoid, just because the industry put on a disguise. It's all about making money...not about keeping the nation's consumers safe and healthy. Report
This concerns me because many people will not be aware of the name change, and will buy a product sweetened with high fructose corn syrup without knowing it. Such shady business practices! Report
Most of what they say is true about HFCS is true, in a sense... however the same is true of regular sugar. Both are half fructose and half sucrose, the only difference is in regular sugar there is a single molecular bond between the two sugars, where as HFCS dosen't have that single bond. They digest the same, they metabolize the same, the sugars (other than the bond difference) are chemically the same, nothing added. There was one doctor who thought that the lack of the single bond between the two sugars would result in more calories, when digested. However the difference was so slight, that there was no statistical difference between the two sugars. Once again mainstream media misreported the science. Which is what you get when all the media outlets dropped their science reporters and turned the job over to non science educated reporters. Add to the fact that "sensationalism" grabs people's attention and that is what drives most stories. Reality is often more mundane and that doesn't sell newspapers or advertisement spots on TV. Report
Sugar is sugar is sugar, and as a post-op gastric bypass patient, I try to avoid it or eat it in low quantities as much as possible. So no, the name change will not stop me from avoiding those foods, or at least eating them in smaller quantities (moderation, please). Report
What's in a name change? Deception. If they only change the name and keep the product as is, what good will that do? It will only deceive a lot of people that don't know the difference. HFCS = FAT. And fat by any other name is FAT. Report
I think the people who have educated themselves about HFCS and have made the decision because of what they have read won't buy it no matter what they call it as they are probably the same people who will educate themselves about the name change.

The people who heard rumors about how bad it is and are making their decision based on that will buy it without knowing. Report
I used to avoid HFCS at all costs, and I've relaxed my standards a little since the newer studies have come out, but still watch and limit my consumption. I think that this is a crock by the corn growers, but I have a feeling it will be passed and will eventually work, which in my mind is sad. Report
You can't deny that Americans have gotten fatter since sweetened drinks and fast food became ubiquitous. Report
If the studies and research are accurate and true, then I'm not going to be too concerned. I'll probably continue to buy foods without HFCS/corn sugar, however, I'm definitely a lot less skeptical.

I always prefer to buy products that don't have added sugar, of any type. IF I buy canned/prepackaged fruit, I buy it with fruit juice, not sugar.

Thanks for the update. Report
My husband stopped using anything with high fructose corn syrup in it about 20 years ago. It actually lowered his triglycerides. He died of a heart attack 5 years ago but i'm convinced he increased his lifespan due to diet changes. Report
The change of name does not make it any different. Those who have not kept up to date on the name change made be fooled at least for a short while. Black is black, white is white they do not change. Report
They say it's the same as sugar but I've done side by side blind comparisons and I always think the one sweetened with real sugar tastes better. They say that it has no change on appetite but when I make a point to avoid HFCS I have fewer cravings even if I'm using real sugar. They say it's perfectly safe, but even if it is I'll try to have things that are less processed. They said that trans fats were better for you than saturated ones, then whoops years later they found out they were even worse.

"They" say a lot of things. I'll choose for myself. I'll choose to avoid it no matter what they change their name to. Report
I avoid HFCS not because of it, but because its presence in food is a good indication that the food has been highly processed and probably contains other additives it shouldn't.

I firmly believe that HFCS is to blame for the so-called obesity epidemic, because it acts as a preservative, so it's added to things that wouldn't normally have added sugar. Added sugar = More calories = People suddenly getting fat. It's not the HFCS itself, but rather the ways in which it is used. Report
Just say NO. Report
Sugar is sugar no matter what you call it . A new name is not going to entice me to buy the product. Report
Why don't they just call this stuff "the devil's spawn"? :) Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.