August 10, 2017

High Fructose Corn Syrup's New Name

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

High fructose corn syrup now has a sneaky new name, trying to fool you into believing it has gotten healthier.

In May 2012, I wrote an article on the danger of high fructose corn syrup, HFCS. Go to the website and read that article for further context.

HFCS is the number one source of calories in the USA today. This stuff is not good for your health, especially in the amounts it is consumed by many people. Soda and sweet drinks are the largest culprit, but many packaged foods have high amounts of HFCS too.

The food industry is in the business of, well, selling their food. They are also very deceptive in how they market those products. They know people want healthier choices, and they do what they can to make you think their products meet that desire.

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) first tried to change HFCS to simply corn sugar. Unbelievably, the FDA actually denied that one. Now, they have made a “whole new” product called HFCS-90. Prior versions were HFCS-42 and HFCS-55. The numbers are merely the percentage of fructose in the product, 45%, 55%, and the new one is 90% pure fructose.
Here is the Corn Refiners Association’s press release: “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, they will state fructose or fructose syrup.”

So now that box of cereal… ahem… General Mills Vanilla Chex can technically say “contains no HFCS,” yet still contains HFCS-90 because they just changed the name of the new sweetener. Isn’t that just awesome?!

This new product is even worse than the previous versions. “In the United States, food ingredient information is written for regulators and scientists, not for the average consumer,” said Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder of the nonprofit advocacy group Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

The CRA explains it this way: “Simply eliminating the high fructose corn syrup designation for the laboratory sweetener that is nine-tenths fructose and calling it what it really is: fructose. And that’s how a product like Vanilla Chex that contains ‘fructose’, a substance that, according to the corn refiners, used to be called HFCS-90, can now declare itself to be high fructose corn syrup – free.” Simply amazing and absurd!

Here are a few other deceptive names that you should recognize as the same old HFCS: maize syrup, glucose syrup, glucose/fructose syrup, tapioca syrup, fruit fructose, crystalline fructose, and the new ones, fructose or fructose syrup. You have been warned.

We need to stop being willfully ignorant of the marketing tricks of food companies. Stop buying the hype and actually read labels. Familiarize yourself with the ingredients you don’t want in your food. Buy food from companies that aren’t trying to fool you. Sure they may cost more, but drugs cost a whole lot more.