Battle of the Two Sugars


In response to the declining consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the Corn Refiners’ Association has asked the FDA for permission to change the name to “corn sugar.” Isn’t that typical of special interest groups — find a new way to market an old product in order to fool the public. This, in the face of serious concerns by scientists and consumers about the health and environmental impacts of HFCS.

In retaliation to this maneuver, the sugar industry (Western Sugar Cooperative, Michigan Sugar Co. and C&H Sugar Company Inc.) has filed a lawsuit against several corn processors and their lobbying group. I love this!

You may have noticed that the corn producers are launching an extensive marketing campaign through print, television and on line to assure consumers that HFSC, or now “corn sugar” is perfectly safe and nutritionally the same as sugar.

Inder Mathur, the president and CEO of Western Sugar Cooperative, (which represents about 1,000 American sugar beet farmers) says “the suit is about false advertising, pure and simple.”

The defendants, Archer Daniels Midland Co., Cargill Inc., Corn Products International Inc., and others, as well as their marketing and lobbying organization the Corn Refiners Association, Inc., say that the marketing campaign and reason for changing the name is for “education, not marketing.”

Recently there has been a lot of debate about the detrimental effects of sugar in general and HFCS in particular. Many nutritionists argue that the addition of HFCS to the food supply is part of what is driving the obesity and diabetes epidemic in this country today. The lower cost of using HFCS has made it attractive to manufactures of soda, cereal, bread and ketchup as well as other products. In fact, it has replaced sugar in many products in the food supply today. This is a stark example of the food industry using ingredients based on cost rather than on quality and safety.

In typical fashion, the American Medical Association reserves judgement, wanting more research. However, there is already plenty of research that shows the difference between beet or cane sugar and HFCS. They are metabolized quite differently, with HFCS stressing the liver. This can lead to a fatty liver and to diabetes.

President of the Corn Refiners Association, Audrae Erickson, states, “sugar is sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and sugar are nutritionally and metabolically equivalent … the name ‘corn sugar’ more accurately describes this sweetener and helps clarify food product labeling for manufacturers and consumers alike.”

In the face of research showing just the opposite, who does she think she is kidding? When there are billions of dollars at stake, of course you will hear such rhetoric. Their defense — that HFCS makes many healthy foods palatable and affordable — is ridiculous when you realize that they are claiming that sugary (or in this case, syrupy) cereals, sodas, breads and cakes are healthy.

In our movement against the corporate giants that dominate the food supply this is a humorous respite. Perhaps we should just sit back, let them duke it out between themselves and enjoy the show.

For more information:

Sinister Deception: The Sugar/Cancer Link

American Agriculturist

Associated Press

Photo credit: Lars Plougmann on flickr

This post is linked to: What’s on the Menu, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, Made it on Monday, Foodie Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Frugal Follies, Tip Day Carnival, Simple Lives Thursday, Food Trip Friday, Friday Favorites, Foodie Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Seasonal Saturday, Seasonal Sunday, Sugar-Free Sunday, Sweet & Savory, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Midnight Maniac Monday, Meatless Monday, Mangia Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Weekend Carnival, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday

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  • Amanda Dittlinger

    I always wonder about the people behind the corn industry. For instance, this Audrae Erickson… does she have kids? Does she not see what her job is costing so many people? I just wonder.

  • Jill

    Hi Amanda,
    It does make you wonder doesn’t it?

  • Barbara Goodman

    I learned many years ago in a social work class, the term “re-naming/re-framing”. When something is offensive or threatening, re-name or re-frame the concept so it comes across as benign. I worked at a hospital where they provided a clinic to provide medical care to children with AIDS. They couldn’t call it the AIDS clinic as patients & families would feel stigmatized so they called it the Family Advocacy Center. The agency that investigates child abuse has been re-named many times, Bureau of Child Welfare, Administration for Children’s Services & Child Protective Services. In these instances the change was intended to be able to provide services without upsetting clients rather than to fool the public, but this corn sugar business is certainly up to no good with ill intention.

  • Jill

    Hi Barbara,
    Thank you so much for sharing your insight and experience.In some instances, “re-framing” or “renaming” may for a good reason. But in this instance, clearly, it is for self gain. I look forward to your comments.

  • Mary @ Mary’s Nest

    Great Post! The best thing we ever did was take HFC out of our diet.

    Thanks for all the wonderful information.



  • Jill

    Hi Mary,
    Thanks for your comments and kind words! Your cinnamon muffins look divine!

  • Jim

    The best way to get rid of HFCS is to get the current whitehouse to push even more Ethanol production down our throats. Not that this is good for the environment or the economy but it’ll drive the price of corn through the roof which will make regular old sugar more competitive. Of course you’re not eating much regular sugar either if you’re reading this blog. Oh, it’ll also drive up corn-fed beer prices which will help our grass-fed cattle friends.

  • Jim

    Sorry, beeF! We don’t want to mess with beer prices!

  • Miz Helen

    This is certainly an interesting debate and information that all of us as consumers need to have. Sometimes perhaps we would all be better off with less lobby influence in Washington and go back to the real farming days when the product was pure, but low that is not the case. So we must depend on each other for information that will keep us informed about our choices. Thank you for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!

  • Jill

    Hi Miz Helen,
    Thank you for your comments. Less lobbying in Washington would be a good start.

  • Jackie

    Nice article, thank you!
    I didn’t know the sugar folks were fighting back, that’s awesome.

    Sugar really is descriptive of texture as well as sweetness… clearly a stretch for a syrup to call itself a sugar….. kind of like calling irradiation cold pasteurization.

  • Jill

    Hi Jackie,
    Great analogy!

  • nicolette @ momnivores dilemma

    just as tylenol is metabolized in the liver…{which reduces glutathione levels to help us detox}…is the same of HFCS since it is processed in the liver?

    american load up on the HFCS and reduce their ability to fight off inflammation, heavy metals, etc.

    could this explain the rise of cancer and the general decline of health?

    sugar is the less of two evils, but still evil in its own right…

  • Jill

    Hi Nicolette,
    I don’t think they understand exactly HFCS is metabolized — but it is in the liver and creates more of a burden there resulting in fatty liver as shown in some of the studies. Yes, sugar is still an evil.

  • France @beyondthepeel

    Thank you for sharing. I recently posted a video found on you tube given by a medical doctor taking about the effect that different sugars have on the body. Fascinating.

  • Jill

    Hi France,
    Thanks for your comments — you are probably referring to Dr. Lustig’s YouTube video. Your salmon cakes look fabulous!

  • Elaine Pool

    Rock on, Jill! As a hypoglycemic/corn syrup sensitive, I can tell you w/in 1 hour if something had corn syrup in it. Not that I LIKE that fact; I’d love to be able to eat anything and everything. But you keep getting the truth out there, and we’ll keep avoiding the attempts to sway us!

  • Jill

    Hi Elaine,
    Thanks so much for your support! And for so long “they” did not think people were sensitive to this gunk they try to feed us!

  • Windy Daley

    Great article.  Yes, Audrae Erickson and the corn refiners are trying to “kid”, and to “mislead” and to “confuse” their fellow Americans.
    How much of that artificial red drink (from the corn refiners’ commercials) does Audrae Erickson consume and give to her children?  She refuses to answer the questions.  Why?  Is it because she does not–and probably would never would (because she knows what’s in it), or is it because she’s really embarrassed that she does feed her children that red “stuff?”  We, as Americans have a right to know.  Does she “drink” her talk?  How many glasses of that red drink does she consume each day?  How many sodas?  What is “in moderation.”

    And check out the sponsors of the American Dietetic Association that the corn lobbyists love to quote:

    We can choose to not consume high fructose corn syrup and the processed foods that have it–and refuse to eat fast food (that is drowning in it).  We can choose to free ourselves from corporate slavery that would have us addicted to foods that are changing many Americans into fat, sick slaves.  Freedom is one of our basic rights.  We have a right to eat foods without high fructose corn syrup.

    Join me in asking Audrae Erickson and each of the corn refiners about how much of that artificial red drink they personally consume and give to their children.

  • Jill

    HI Windy,
    Thanks so much for the comments. I am so glad you included the link to the American Dietetic Association. It CLEARLY shows who they are routing for:  Pepsico, Coca Cola, Kellogg, Hersey, Mars, etc.

    Right now Nutritionists (in 40 states) are being threatened with a takeover by the American Dietetic Association. Wd really have our hands full on this one….