Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't Let 'Em Fool You

It appears that the makers of high fructose corn syrup are trying to relieve the stigma attached to their product, but rather than admitting that their product is flawed and really trying to find ways to improve it, they've decided to rename it from corn syrup to corn sugar.

So very frustrating. It's still the SAME product!

It's like renaming corn whiskey to corn wine. Saying it's corn wine doesn't make it any less potent than whiskey. As Juliet so aptly observed, that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. Changing the name does not change what it is.

My family likes corn. We eat corn-on-the-cob or sliced off the cob as whole kernels and creamed corn or as cornmeal. I pressure can or freeze fresh, raw corn, but it still looks like corn. We also use dried corn that has been ground into a meal, but it's still corn. What they do to the corn to make it high fructose corn syrup takes all of the cornness out of it.

I like things sweet, and I still use sugar, but you won't find corn syrup or corn sugar in my cupboard or in the food we eat. We use raw cane sugar, which if one is going to use sugar at all, is as close to natural as it gets. In fact, the above referenced article states that given that raw sugar requires minimal processing, the raw sugar we consume today is probably very similar to that made in India hundreds of years ago. My guess is that there are very few processed foods that people living hundreds of years ago would recognize.

Perhaps if we're looking for equivalents, raw sugar is equivalent to apple juice concentrate. Corn syrup is not. An article on high fructose corn syrup states, "High-fructose corn syrup is produced by milling corn to produce corn starch, then processing that starch to yield corn syrup, which is almost entirely glucose, and then adding enzymes that change most of the glucose into fructose." I mean, at what point does it really cease to even be corn anymore? Doesn't adding enzymes completely change the character of the organism?

I don't know about anyone else, but I've made apple juice before, and basically, I pressed the juice out of the apples and then I put the juice into some jars, and then I processed the jars in a boiling water bath to seal the jars and a few months later, we drank completely unadulterated apple juice. It was delicious, sweeter and smoother than anything we could buy in the store ... and no high fructose corn syrup. It didn't need it.

They are going to try everything in their power to make their product appeal to those of us who might be willing to buy it. For them it's all about the money, and they could care less if their products are unhealthy and are killing us, because we stay alive long enough to make sure a new generation is born who can be made addicted to their products, and make no mistake, high fructose corn syrup is highly addictive. It's not (just) the caffeine in sodas that makes us want it. It's the sweetner, and it's poison.

Believe me when I say I know how difficult it is to break an addiction - I've totally been there and done that (cigarettes, soda, coffee, potato chips - to name a few ;), but it's so worth it ... if for nothing else than to be able to thumb one's nose at those who believe they can just tell us that whiskey is wine ... and it won't hurt us, no matter how much we drink.



  1. The people who don't care, are going to keep doing that, not caring. So a name change won't affect them. The people who do care, already aren't eating it/avoiding it as much as they can and aren't going to be fooled by this.

  2. Not to mention... thats an awful amount of work (on the manufacturing end) to make a sweetener,
    Leave it to the "smart" people to complicate things... Just use DAMN SUGAR! LOL :)

  3. Yes, but Corn Sugar, sounds so much better, more healthy. And we all want to be healthy right? Reminds me of one of my favorite movies: Idiocracy. Especially because they feed their plants with gatorade, " because it has electrolytes". And they can't figure out why the plants have all died..

    Thanks for the apple juice tip. I am a new canner this year and we are having all kinds of fun with the garden produce to pressure cooker and hot water baths.

  4. We use raw cane sugar, which if one is going to use sugar at all, is as close to natural as it gets.

    Honey? Molasses? I use either one to make bread. The molasses gives it a nice tan.

    But yeah, renaming products is an old dodge (oops). When I was a kid, it was "Sugar Frosted Flakes" and "Sugar Pops" and "Super Sugar Crisp." When the complaints started mounting, they suddenly became "Frosted Flakes" and "Corn Pops" "Super Golden Crisp" without making any real changes in the recipes.

    The question is, why is it that all this processing yields a cheaper sweetener than a more natural one that doesn't require the processing? That's what it's all about for the manufacturers, per-unit cost.

  5. Kaye - I wonder if there are people out there, though, who know that HFCS is bad, but may well be duped by this playing with semantics. I mean, as FARf points out, it used to be sugar frosted flakes until someone decided that sugar was bad. Since the product is still on the market, seems their little out of sight, out of mind trick worked.

    Leigh - indeed! What's that principle KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid?

    Art - Please be aware that canning is addictive (and also very good for your health ... honest! ;)

    FARf - as (very) amateur beekeepers, I would completely agree that honey is a more natural sweetner, but I did say "if one is going to use sugar [raw cane sugar] is as close to natural as it gets." *grin*

    We most certainly should be asking ourselves why it is so much cheaper to make corn syrup - for the manufacturers - than it is to process raw sugar. I think the answer (government subsidies from taxpayers) would startle a lot of people if they REALLY sat down to consider why corn syrup is cheaper to use than sugar. I don't know if it would make a difference, as Kaye points out that many people just don't give a sh*t, but perhaps for those people who would care, if they knew, it might elicit some changes.

  6. So much food contains so much crap. More people start paying attention, so big business moves toward deception.

  7. Ranger Man, that is undoubtedly it. It's all about the money, and as long as they make a lot of it, so what if a few people die from horribly debilitating, diet-related diseases.

  8. I'm going to say no. If you *really* know what HFCS is, then you're not going to be hoodwinked by the name change. I mean we all know that KFC still stands for Kentucky FRIED Chicken, right?

    But then again, I tend to assume the best about people. Silly me!