You may be aware of the dangers of high fructose corn syrup. It has been shown to contribute to fat deposits in the liver,it leads to plaque buildup which narrows blood vessels, and sets the stage for a whole host of diseases. While the health risks are pretty widely known, high fructose corn syrup still makes its way into baked goods, canned fruits, dairy products, carbonated drinks and many sweetened beverages.
It’s believed to be a major cause of the obesity epidemic in America, and researchers believe it can lead to the development of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, immune system damage, premature aging and even mercury poisoning.
If you’re in the habit of checking out ingredient lists before you buy, you’re on the right track to making sure you stay far away from high fructose corn syrup. But manufacturers have come up with a way to keep making their products using the cheap sweetener, and tricking consumers into buying them anyway. They petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be allowed to use the alternative name “corn sugar” on product labels.
The Corn Refiners Association feels that their sweetener of choice is misunderstood. Audrae Erickson, president of the association said, “The term ‘corn sugar’ succinctly and accurately describes what this natural ingredient is and where it comes from – corn.”
The Food and Drug Administration ultimately ruled that high fructose corn syrup cannot be called “corn sugar,” due to their regulations on the difference between a sugar and a syrup.
If you’re thinking it ended there, it didn’t. The manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup started a PR campaign complete with a cute kid and his dad walking in a cornfield. They also got a name change. The term “fructose” is now being used to denote a product that was previously known as HFCS-90, which is high fructose corn syrup that contains 90% pure fructose. Regular high fructose corn syrup usually contains 42%- 55% fructose.
The Corn Refiners Association stated, “A third product, HFCS-90, is sometimes used in natural and ‘light’ foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label, they will state fructose or fructose syrup.”
So that box of cereal you’re investigating may say “no high fructose corn syrup” on the front, but it will be hidden in the ingredients list under “fructose.”
High fructose corn syrup isn’t the only ingredient to get a name change. Check out these other ingredients that may be hiding under a different name:
- Aspartame (NutraSweet) changed to AminoSweet
- Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed Oil changed to Canola Oil
- Prunes changed to Dried Plums
- Patagonian Toothfish changed to Chilean Sea Bass
- Slimehead changed to Orange Roughy
Manufacturers have a history of choosing the “correct” name for their product, to make it sound more appealing. Knowing what to look for on ingredient lists will keep you from being fooled into thinking that you’re getting an “all natural,” “no high fructose corn syrup” product, when that’s not the case.
h/t: living traditionally
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