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All Sweeteners are not the same

Corn syrup is a natural product made with cornstarch. Corn syrup is easily digested and poses no known health risks other than those associated with a diet high in sugar. Natural cane and beet sugars are also easily digested by the body and pose only those health risks associated with the consumption of too much sugar. The body can metabolize corn syrup and cane/beet sugars, but is unable to metabolize high fructose corn syrup. If the Corn Refiners Association is allowed to continue their ads claiming their is no difference between HFCS and natural sugars, consumers may be harmed by thinking the body treats both sweeteners equally.

Because much money is involved, the American Sugar Farmers and Refiners and the Corn Refiners Association are taking the battle to the courts..American Sugar Farmers brought a lawsuit against the Corn Refiners Association who had petitioned the United States Department of Agriculture for approval to substitute the words ‘corn sugar’ for the words ‘high fructose corn syrup’ on ingredient labels.

The Food and Drug Administration denied the CRA petitionto rename high fructose corn syrup on May 30, 2012. The Corn Refiners Association had launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign which argued that sugar and high fructose corn syrup were identical. There remains a pending lawsuit to stop the advertising campaign.

Unsuspecting consumers worldwide can become collateral damage in this war of words. The truth is that high fructose corn syrup is not the same and is not a natural product. Included in the FDA decision to deny the name change is a statement by the director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Michael M. Landa, “Corn sugar has been known to be an allowed ingredient for individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, who have been advised to avoid ingredients that contain fructose.” Landa went on to say that changing the name of HFCS could put these people at risk and pose a health concern.

Why would high fructose corn syrup be a health risk if, according to the Corn Refiners Association, there is no difference between it and natural cane or beet sugar? The truth is that the body can tell the difference despite what the new CRA ads claim.

Corn syrup is also known as glucose syrup and has been used as a sweetener since the late 19th century. High fructose corn syrup was first used to sweeten foods and sodas around 1970, about the same time as Americans began to add weight to their waistlines.The body breaks down all the food that the stomach contains, pulling the useful components out for the body to use. The body uses certain types of sugar for energy. Excess sugar is stored as fat unless the person is very active and burns these extra calories. The calories from high fructose corn syrup can’t be digested, so these extra calories go straight to fat no matter how much you exercise.

Corn syrup is made by milling corn into cornstarch and treating this powder with alpha-amylase, a naturally occurring enzyme easily secreted by the pancreas. The body has no difficulty recognizing these short, simple chains of sugar and are digested without problem.

High fructose corn syrup is processed further. The process breaks down the sugar into fructose and glucose. Fructose is the sugar found in most fruits. Glucose is the sugar that the human body turns all food into for energy. To achieve this, the corn syrup is put into vats with the fungus Aspergillus to ferment. Another enzyme is added to break a percentage of fructose off from the glucose. Usually, 55 percent fructose to 45 percent glucose is used in the food and beverage industries.

The unbonded ten percent fructose is believed to be the cause in the current obesity epidemic in America. The body is unable to digest the free fructose which is stored as fat around the waistline and vital organs.

Naturally occurring sugars are easily digested by the body. This means that the body is able to burn the calories before they can be stored as fat. Chemically altered high fructose corn syrup is not digested by the body, allowing the calories in the sweetened foods and drinks to turn to fat which is stored. This gives rise to metabolic syndrome in which diabetes becomes much more likely.

Corn syrup is a natural product made with cornstarch. Corn syrup is easily digested and poses no known health risks other than those associated with a diet high in sugar. Natural cane and beet sugars are also easily digested by the body and pose only those health risks associated with the consumption of too much sugar. The body can metabolize corn syrup and cane/beet sugars. The body is unable to metabolize high fructose corn syrup. If the Corn Refiners Association is allowed to continue their ads claiming there is no difference between HFCS and natural sugars, consumers may be harmed by thinking the body treats both sweeteners equally.

It should be obvious that changing the name of high fructose corn syrup to just ‘ corn syrup’ or ‘corn sugar’ would be misleading to the people who must avoid fructose in the diet. Corn syrup poses no danger to the person with hereditary fructose intolerance. Since this is true, a person with this condition would purchase products with fructose in them and not be aware.