by Susanne Posel
June 2, 2012
Just this week, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a
ban on the sale of soda in the city’s restaurants, delis and movie
theaters in an attempt to deter obesity in New Yorkers.
Michelle Obama made the statement that the rising obesity rates in
America are a “threat to national security.”
The soft drink industry has taken a sizable hit to their profits due
to the recent revelations about the flavorings they use.
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have changed
their recipe, removing a known carcinogen
4-methylimidazole (4-MI or 4-MEI)
from its soft drinks. The compound is used to make the drink have
its caramel coloring.
One of those additives is high fructose corn syrup (HFSC).
And the Corn Refiners Association’s (CRA)
recent proposal to rename HFSC to “corn sugar” is not bringing more
positive light to the situation.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
rejected the CRA’s request that HFSC be referred to as corn sugar on
nutrition labels. In a letter addressed to Audrae Erickson,
president of the CRA, the reason the FDA gave was that their
definition of sugar is a solid, dried and crystallized “food” - not
Erickson retorted that since HFCS is not a sugar, it must be
confined to the “added sugar’ portion of the nutritional label and
this exposure would make the substance’s presence obvious.
To coincide with their proposal to the FDA, the CRA have launched a
propaganda campaign to fool the public into thinking this renaming
of the dangerous substance somehow gave it nutritional value.
The CRA would like for consumers to see corn sugar as they perceive
Michael M. Landa, director of the Center for Food Safety
and Applied Nutrition at the FDA, recognized that the CRA wanted
corn sugar, which has been used to describe dextrose, would now be
used instead of HFCS. Landa knows that dextrose has been the name
for over 30 years, and that hiding the name HFCS would put the
public’s health at great risk.
In 2011, the Sugar Association (SA) filed a lawsuit against
the CRA, citing that the marketing ploy was “misleading”.
Dan Callister, lawyer for the SA, remarked that sugar and
HFCS are separate products.
“What’s going on here is basically a
con game to suggest otherwise. What do con men do? They normally
try to change their name. The FDA has thankfully stopped that.”
The CRA maintains that the FDA’s
rejection of their proposal was based on a technicality.
They claim that,
“the vast majority of American
consumers are confused about HFCS.”
The CRA explains that most forms of HFCS
are actually half fructose and half glucose.
Well, that clears it up.
Oh wait, there was that recent study that showed HFCS dramatically
affects the brain’s ability to cognitively function; i.e. it makes
you stupid. Marion Nestle, nutrition professor at New York
University, approves of the FDA’s decision.
Nestle says that,
“the name change is not in the
public interest. Its only purpose is to further the commercial
interests of members of the Corn Refiners, and that is not one
the FDA should be concerned about.”
However, Nestle adds:
“The Sugar Association’s behavior is
not much better.”
The evidence of how sweeteners affect us
bio-chemically and psychologically sparks questions of their
viability for serving to ensure public health.
“Sugars, plural, are sugars. Sucrose
is glucose and fructose. So is HFCS,” Nestle said . “Everyone
would be better off eating a lot less of both.”
The American Medical Association
(AMA) has expressed desire to conduct research on HFCS, but retains
that there is insufficient data to ban its use completely.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) also
supports the AMA; including that there is no evidence that HFCS is
not worse for the human body than sugar.
But the CSPI also mentions that
Americans still consume an unhealthy level of both.