High Fructose Corn Syrup Now Hidden Under a New Name

Food producers have many tactics for hiding food ingredients which have become unpopular with consumers, and such has happened to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) following numerous scientific studies that have linked it to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and autism. In order to stop using the HFCS name in the ingredients list, food makers have taken to calling a sub-category of HFCS as “fructose syrup” or, plainly, “fructose”.
HFCS is a highly-processed chemical sweetener used in many processed foods, including breads, cookies, candy, condiments, and soft drinks. HFCS extends the shelf life of products, and it is often cheaper than sugar, which are the main reasons why manufacturers like it. But HFCS has gotten a bad rep, considering the circumstantial evidence that links it to various metabolic diseases, so Big Food and the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) decided to get creative.
HFCS is sub-categorized based on its fructose content. The “standard” HFCS – HFCS 42 or HFCS 55 – contains either 42 or 55 percent fructose. The new term “fructose” is now being used when foods contain the ingredient previously called HFCS-90, which has 90 percent fructose. Identifying HFCS-90 as “fructose” in the ingredients list gives food makers a green light to use statements such as “Contains No High Fructose Corn Syrup” or “No HFCS” on the product label, thus misleading buyers.
Here is CRA’s take:
“A third product, HFCS-90, is sometimes used in natural and ‘light’ foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label [anymore], they will state ‘fructose’ or ‘fructose syrup’.”
Scientific Discoveries about High Fructose Corn Syrup and Health
There’s a growing body of scientific evidence linking HFCS to metabolic disorders. Here is what scientists have discovered about the potential impact of HFCS on human health:
“Consumption of HFCS may lead to mineral imbalances, including Zn [Zinc], Ca [Calcium] and P [Phosphorus] loss and Cu [Copper] gain and is a potential source of inorganic mercury exposure.” – Dufault et al. Clinical Epigenetics, 2012
“Data show that consumption of added sugars, particularly HFCS-55, negatively impacts hippocampal function, metabolic outcomes, and neuroinflammation when consumed in excess during the adolescent period of development.” – Hsu et al. Hippocampus, 2014
Although there has been no direct link established between HFCS and diabetes, obesity and autism, the circumstantial evidence that HFCS is a partial culprit in these widespread diseases cannot be overlooked.
It’s All About Marketing
Food producers aren’t new to deceiving the public to make their foods appear healthier than they really are. They will continue to do what they can to sell more products, even if that means re-categorizing and renaming synthetic ingredients. It’s called marketing, and the food industry spends billions on it each year to ensure that you hear and see the right message to make you comfortable with all the chemicals that end up in your food. Food marketers hide the reality under attractive labels with pretty pictures and tag lines such as “100% Pure” or “All natural”, making the ingredients list and nutritional information difficult to read and hidden in the far corners or back sides of packages.
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