A Sugar Industry Slugfest [Weekend Comedy in 3 Parts]

[Image via The Daily Green]

If obesity rates (due to sugar and high fructose corn syrup abundance in everything we consume) weren’t so high, this would actually be funny. From the Des Moines Register:

Sugar producers and refiners are suing corn processors to stop them from marketing high fructose corn syrup as “corn sugar.”


“This suit is about false advertising, pure and simple,” said Inder Mathur, president and CEO of Western Sugar Cooperative, a grower group that filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court along with the Michigan Sugar Co. and C&H Sugar Co. Inc. “If consumers are concerned about your product, then you should improve it or explain its benefits, not try to deceive people about its name or distort scientific facts.” Read more…

What you need to know:

Act 1: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener that has been used for the last 30 years as a cheaper alternative to sugar. It is made from surplus corn. The corn industry is subsidized by the government through the Farm Bill, and as a result manufacturers have a cheaper option for infusing food and (mostly) beverages with a cheap sweetener.

In the decades since HFCS has been introduced to markets, obesity rates have shot up and many consumers, along with a small number of scientists are connecting the dots. Although sugar and HFCS are almost the same chemically, HFCS has a bit more fructose than glucose in it.

Many people prefer not to consume products with HFCS, assuming science will one day reach a more conclusive decision on the matter.

Act 2: In the past few years, some manufacturers began moving back from HFCS to sugar, and touting their product as all natural. An example is Pepsi throwback, the Pepsi brand cola. The Corn Refiners Association, representing the HFCS industry is seeing a drop in sales.

Act 3: Recently, the corn refiners hit upon the idea that changing the name of their sweetener from “high fructose corn syrup” to “corn sugar” will calm consumers down and get back to slurping HFCS infused products. The aforementioned lawsuit is the result of the “regular” sugar folks fighting back.

Closing Scene: Two industries slugging it out for the right to make America even fatter. Please suggest an appropriate background song for this battle of giants…

What to do at the supermarket:

There are dozens of names that sugar goes by, and that’s before the artificial sweeteners get into the picture. Here’s a list we’ve compiled of sugar synonyms. Check out the ingredient lists in products you buy. You’ll be surprised at how many places have sugars (of all sorts) in them.

(Hat tip to Prof. Marion Nestle)

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  • Lds0816

    Sugar is sugar is sugar…no matter the name, leave them all alone.

    • Charlotte

      Actually, researchers are finding that this is NOT the case. HFCS doesn’t even get processed as a carb by the body and goes straight into storage as fat, or so some researchers are claiming. Watch Sugar, the bitter truth on YouTube. Interesting lecture.

  • Janinestein

    help! trying to get my kids to choose less sugar.


  • http://evilcyber.com Evilcyber

    “In the decades since HFCS has been introduced to markets, obesity rates
    have shot up and many consumers, along with a small number of scientists
    are connecting the dots.”

    You make it sound like the cause of higher obesity rates is exclusively due to HFCS. When it comes to weight control, calories matter, nothing else.