Health Groups Protest Change from 'Corn Syrup' to 'Corn Sugar'

Health Groups Protest Change from 'Corn Syrup' to 'Corn Sugar'

In a move to block the renaming of corn syrup to corn sugar, various groups opposing the change wrote the Food and Drug Administration in protest. 

In 2010, the Corn Refiners of America asked the FDA to allow them to retitle corn syrup corn sugar, because many consumers believed that corn syrup was much higher in fructose than traditional sweeteners such as honey and sugar.  That impression is false, however; sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, and corn syrup is 45% fructose and 55% glucose. Both sugar and corn syrup contain 15 calories per teaspoon.

So what is the agenda of the groups opposing the change if there is no significant difference between corn syrup and sugar? Why would they care what corn syrup is called?

Chris Waldrop of the Consumer Federation of America, one of the groups opposing the change, admitted that that science proves that both corn syrup and sugar are processed in the same way by the body. But, he protested, changing the name is “deceptive, and we don’t think it’s an appropriate way to deal with consumer concerns.”  His organization worries that consumers might think high-fructose corn syrup has been taken out of a product when in fact “the name was just changed — and that’s not fair.” And the real agenda at work here is exemplified by Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, who said, “This isn’t about science, this is about people eating too much sugar.” In other words, scaring people about corn syrup is more important than telling them the truth about sugar.