Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Is HFCS by Any Other Name Just as Sweet?

Dear Readers,

You're getting this letter today--I'm pretty sure the Corn Refiners Association doesn't want to hear from me.  Nor do I feel like getting into it with them.  I'm not going to change their minds, but I can use this space to make you a little more aware.

Did you hear the news today that the Corn Refiners Association wants to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to corn sugar?  You know, to make you feel better about it being in the food you eat?

Part of me thinks, "Good for them!"  They're trying to make their product more sellable (and sometimes you've gotta do what you gotta do).  The other part of me thinks, "I'm on to you, buddy!" and I hope you are too.

I don't really know what to think about HFCS.  Is it sweeter than sugar, as mentioned in the news four years ago (and if so, will your body crave more sweet--i.e.--bad/highly caloric--food)?  Is it the same as sugar?  Is it good for you?  Bad for you?  OK in moderation?  What is it?

I think moderation is the key, but the problem I have with HFCS is that it's in almost anything.  I'm sorry that I don't make my own English muffins or bread (yes, I'd like to get back to baking bread, but I haven't made the time yet).  I don't make my own ketchup.  I'm really not looking for some basic foods to get sweeter, and I think that's a problem with the traditional American diet--just add sweetener, and it'll taste good.  Even when you try to moderate, you can't, if everything's loaded with sweeteners like HFCS.

As a consumer, it's a frustrating process.  I'd sure like to buy some convenience foods to cut down on time in the kitchen, but if I do, they're loaded with stuff that's not good for me.  HFCS is an easy target for hatred because it's cheap and in pretty much everything.  Maybe we shouldn't be mad at the corn refiners--they're just trying to save their business.  Maybe there's a better solution though--maybe one that doesn't rely on corn.  Perhaps a difficult change is necessary, and by not putting up with "corn sugar," we can help shift a culture.

What do you think?

Your pal,

p.s.--I'd like to give a quick kudos to Heinz for their new "Simply Heinz" ketchup.  I saw it in the store and wondered what it was, since the front label didn't give any clues.  It turned out to be ketchup with basic ingredients--sugar, yes.  HFCS and corn syrup, no.  I don't know whether I'm more thrilled that they put a basic ketchup back on the market, or that it doesn't blast "no HFCS!" across the label.  A classy move, and a good product!

1 comment:

  1. They must label it differently in different markets; here in WI it's got a huge "No High Fructose Corn Syrup!" banner splashed across the front of the bottle.

    I always try to buy stuff without HFCS too. Bread? Come on, I don't need sweetener in my bread. And frankly I'd rather not support the industrial "agriculture" that produces HFCS.