A syrup by any other name

Will HFCS get rebranded?

By
September 22, 2010

Last week, in the New York Times Well blog, blogger Tara Parker-Pope noted that the corn-syrup industry is considering rebranding high-fructose corn syrup. The new name? “Corn sugar,” which sounds pleasantly innocuous.

Marion Nestle, a professor in New York University’s department of nutrition and a longtime food-industry critic, says that Americans consume too much of all types of sugar, but that there is no meaningful biochemical difference between table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
“I’m not eager to help the corn refiners sell more of their stuff,” Dr. Nestle wrote in an e-mail. “But you have to feel sorry for them. High-fructose corn syrup is the new trans fat. Everyone thinks it’s poison, and food companies are getting rid of it as fast as they can.”

Not surprising, given the recent report that HFCS might encourage the growth of cancer cells. As Culinate contributor Sarah Gilbert noted in her Daily Finance column,

The study found that pancreatic tumor cells metabolized fructose differently than glucose and that the cancer cells “readily metabolized fructose to increase proliferation.” In other words, as the headline reads, "Cancer cells slurp up fructose."

Sure, test-tube studies aren’t the same as real-world diets. But it’s certainly sugary food for thought.

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