Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Sweeter Name

The Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the U.S. FDA to rename "high-fructose corn syrup." The new image-enhancing name, if the FDA approves, will be "corn sugar."

As if sugar doesn't have its own image problem. You'd think the corn refiners would be a little more savvy. They should go for a name like "awesome veggie sweetener" or something.

However, while the FDA is open for suggestions, I'd like to propose "subsidized addictive corn syrup."

I'm going to stop short of jumping on the bandwagon proclaiming "if only we could rid ourselves of the evil HFCS then our obesity problems would be gone!" I'm not that simple-minded, and I'm not that good at chemistry either. I can't really sort through the science behind the whole HFCS-vs-sugar debate. There are too many junk studies with inconsistent results.

The politics though are another thing. High-fructose corn syrup, derived from corn, is more economical in the U.S. because corn production is heavily subsidized. The FDA recognized HFCS as safe in 1976. Soft drink makers in the U.S. switched to using HFCS in 1984.

I remember it was around 1985 that I saw the first bucket-sized serving of cola. I naively thought it was family size and honestly wondered how difficult it would be to pour it into smaller cups for serving. Oh well.

It's common now. Any kid can pick up a 64oz serving of liquid candy before school, gulp down 800 calories before the final bell rings, and then stop on the way home for a refill costing less than $1.

It's cheap and full of calories, and the numbers show we're consuming more glucose-fructose mixtures.

(Image via Wikipedia.)

The little downward dip at the end there is promising. Are we wising up? Learning moderation is the key? Is this why the corn refiners want an image change? I don't think the new name is going to change anything.

1 comment:

Trung said...

a rose by any other name is still a rose.