High Fructose Corn Syrup, a liquid sweetener that is derived from corn kernels and found in many drinks and snacks, has been branded as dangerous and unhealthy after studies have linked it to obesity and diabetes. It became a household name after First Lady Michelle Obama announced that she avoids giving products that contain the ingredient to her young daughters. The US Corn Refiners Association is now renaming the syrup in an attempt to improve its public image. They appealed to the Food and Drug Administration to change the name to “corn sugar”, which is more natural sounding.
“The term ‘corn sugar’ succinctly and accurately describes what this natural ingredient is and where it comes from: corn.” said Audrae Erickson, president of the CRA. Food companies who use the syrup insist that it is no more or less healthy than ordinary sugar, but the American Medical Association is currently researching the long term effects of the substance. However, the point that Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Washington-based Centre for Science in the Public Interest, makes is a good one, and that is that consuming large amounts of sugar is not good for anyone, no matter what type of sugar it is. “Soda pop sweetened with sugar is every bit as conducive to obesity as soda pop sweetened with high fructose corn syrup.” he says.