(HFCS Commercial Spoof on Saturday Night Live)
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is considered worse than the devil by many consumers today. The liquid sweetener, which has been an integral part of our food system since the early 1980′s, has been blamed for skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates in this country.
High fructose corn syrup is derived from surplus corn, and costs half the price as table sugar. That has made it very popular with food and beverage manufacturers for over 30 years.
But it seems that the good times for HFCS are about to end.
Many manufacturers who used HFCS in their products are switching back to sugar. And they’re telling consumers about it too. Today, 1 in 50 products in the supermarket is labeled “No HFCS”. That’s a ten-fold increase compared to just 5 years ago. (Source: Food Navigator, May 11, 2011). Examples include Sara Lee, Some Pepsi drinks, Newman’s Own, and Hunt’s.
Although the current scientific consensus is that HFCS is nutritionally identical to sugar, at least one study has shown otherwise.
Regardless of the science, the public consensus is that HFCS is not a good ingredient to have in food. 35% of consumers look for HFCS when choosing foods, compared to only 20% in 2006.
The Corn Refiners Association has made numerous attempts to convince America that HFCS is safe, but they all seem to backlash.The most recent attempt, changing the name HFCS to “corn sugar” is meeting with lawsuits from the sugar industry.
[Image via The Daily Green]
What to do at the supermarket:
Whether HFCS is different from sugar or not, the fact is we are consuming way too much of both. So instead of worrying about your soda being sweetened with sugar or HFCS, how about switching to water?
More than anything else, a highly sweetened product is not something you want to consume regularly. When you see HFCS on a product label, it usually is indicative of a cheap processed food. Try to limit the number of products like this that you put in your shopping cart.