More bad news about fructose – and why only sugar is sugar

Posted by
January 31, 2012

A study featured last year in the journal Obesity showed that the fructose content of many beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup delivers a much higher fructose “jolt” than what the corn industry claimed. In light of that revelation, another study just out is extra bad news for consumers of HFCS-laden products.

The new study, conducted by researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University, found that high fructose consumption by teens can put them at risk for heart disease and diabetes, and also speculated kids may “crave the cheap, strong sweetener.”  Study co-author Dr. Vanessa Bundy, was quoted in a university press release as saying “…it’s believed there’s something in the syrup processing (of HFCS) that plays a role in the bad byproducts of metabolism.”

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA), of course, immediately issued a press release alleging the new study draws “unfounded conclusions,” and also used its ‘media minute’ to once again reiterate what has lately become its favorite mantra — that despite its name, high fructose corn syrup is not really “high” in fructose.

But as Dr. Michael Goran, director of the Childhood Obesity Research Center found out, that’s quite likely not true. The results he received from an independent laboratory analysis of popular soda brands seem to indicate that high fructose corn syrup is the perfect name for this laboratory-concocted sweetener.

Dr. Goran, who is also professor of preventative medicine at the University of Southern California, discovered that what is commonly believed to be the fructose content of  HFCS in sodas and drinks – 55 percent –  didn’t jibe with his study results. Finding fructose levels as high as 65 percent in the Coke, Pepsi and Sprite analyzed, came as a “surprise” to Goran and his team. Now if you’ve been following my blogs here you should know that the CRA has spent  a whopping $50 million plus to convince folks that “sugar is sugar” and HFCS has just about the same fructose level as cane or beet sugar. So Dr. Goran’s research is pretty much a game changer and certainly should be considered a factor in studies such as the high fructose-heart disease one just released.

With the Corn Refiners Association spending even more big bucks on a renewed campaign to sell us on HFCS (and its makeover name, but more on that in a minute), with the theme of “sugar is sugar,”  a study published in the journal Metabolism last December says that there are big differences between “real” sugar and HFCS. The study showed that folks who consumed HFCS-sweetened drinks, versus ones with sugar, had higher blood levels of fructose, higher uric acid and heightened blood pressure.

Help us stop the corn sugar hoax

With the 2010 petition from the CRA to change the name of the increasingly unpopular HFCS to “corn sugar” currently open for comment, you still have a chance to speak your mind and make a difference. While the Food and Drug Administration is dragging its feet on this petition, the CRA is using it as an opportunity to keep the “conversation,” as they like to call it, going. By using the Internet, press and TV as a forum to get “corn sugar” in our heads as the new name for HFCS, the only way to put a stop to this is to get the FDA to act now.

Make sure you take a moment to click here and convey your comments to the FDA. You can copy and paste some sample messages on this page, or compose one of your own. Remember, real corn sugar is already a long-recognized product that contains NO fructose. And sugar, one of the oldest natural sweeteners, can only come from sugar cane or sugar beets. So please tell the FDA to reject this ridiculous attempt to conceal HFCS on packaging.

The FDA online docket is easy to use, but a few folks have had some questions, so here are some tips: under “Organization Name” you can simply put “none,” “self” or anything else that applies. You can leave the space under “Submitter’s Representative” blank if you want, and under “Category,” there is a drop-down menu with a bunch of choices with “Consumer” at the very bottom.

If you are tired of hearing from Big Corn every time you turn on the TV, tell the FDA to act now and reject this petition so the CRA can’t continue to deceive us. Who knows? – your comment might just be the one that tips the scales in favor of a decisive ruling against this attempted food flimflam.