High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has taken a lot of flack lately. More and more consumers are avoiding it, whether because they're concerned that it contains mercury or are worried about one of the other possible harmful effects of consuming the lab-made sweetener.
What does a company do when its product has a bad reputation? They re-brand!
The Corn Refiners Association, makers of those pro-HFCS Sweet Surprise ads, is an advocacy group that represents a group of big agricultural companies. Faced with mountains of bad press, they want to rename the product, calling it corn sugar. They've even launched a TV campaign aimed at parents. You can check out their new ads on YouTube.
Is All Sugar Created Equal?
The woman in the video says that, "Whether it's corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference. Sugar is sugar." I don't buy that at all.
What makes HFCS different from table sugar is in the name: fructose. White table sugar is made up of sucrose, a combination of fructose and glucose. Your body processes straight fructose differently from sucrose, and that's one of the big problems with "corn sugar."
Studies link high fructose diets to serious health concerns like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Don't get me wrong, too much sucrose isn't doing your body any favors, but the point here is that not all sugars are the same, and that claim in the corn sugar commercials is dishonest.
What You Can Do
Changing the name of a product doesn't change the product, but a group as large and powerful at the Corn Refiners Association has the funding and the power to repeat their message, whether it's deceptive or not.
Your voice and your wallet are your best tools to fight the corn lobby.
Spread the word! Don't let this re-branding happen in secret. Tell your friends and your family. Share the information on Twitter or Facebook. The more people that know about this tactic, the less successful it will be.
It's tricky sometimes to find food that doesn't contain HFCS, but careful label reading can help. You might need to start keeping an eye out for corn sugar if the lobby's FDA petition is a success. The easiest way to avoid HFCS or corn sugar is to eat whole, fresh foods and avoid anything processed and packaged.
What do you think? Will the FDA approve this name change? If they do, do you think this marketing tactic is going to work?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by liangjinjian