October 24, 2008

Websites offer facts on high fructose corn syrup

Just a few weeks ago, a post talked about some advertising spots on TV talking about the "Sweet Surprise" of high fructose corn syrup, or HCFS. The surprise part is the truth about HFCS - and that some folks don't know why they have a negative connotation of HFCS in the first place. (Follow the link above to view one of the commercials.)

Today, the Nebraska Corn Board made a few points - and encouraged people to visit a couple of websites: HFCSfacts.com and SweetSurprise.com. Both contain some great, fact-based and consumer-friendly information about high fructose corn syrup.

In a news release, Don Hutchens, executive director, noted that HFCS has been targeted by some groups as a "causative agent for a variety of ills facing society today, yet the simple truth is HFCS is no different than any other sweetener, other than it is made from corn."

For example, HFCS contains four calories per gram, which is no different common table sugar or honey. It also contains similar ratios of fructose and glucose and is metabolized in the same way as table sugar and honey.

People want an easy answer - and an easy solution - for things like obesity and diabetes. Blaming HFCS won't solve anything, and blaming agriculture in generaly certainly won't improve anyone's health. Agriculture - the entire food system - provides nourishment for people in this and many other countries. What we eat and how we eat it is up to us - good or bad.

In June, the American Medical Association noted that "high fructose corn syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners." In other words, treat HFCS like any other sweetner. The Food and Drug Administration has affirmed that HFCS is a natural product, not some product of science like some other sweeteners on the market.

"HFCS is a natural ingredient made from corn, and should be treated and consumed like other sweeteners, not made the scapegoat," Hutchens said.

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