8 Deceiving Names for High Fructose Corn Syrup
Today’s consumers are increasingly health conscious and want to avoid products that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In response, the food industry has changed the name of a concentrated form of HFCS to conceal it within their products.
What is in a name? Everything. And marketers know the power a name wields in causing sales to either increase or plummet. In the 80s, low erucic acid grapeseed oil was renamed canola oil, and after a long fight, prunes — a name long associated with speeding digestion — are now allowed to be called dried plums. But this latest name change is by far the most deceptive.
As the word has gotten out about the many adverse health effects of HFCS, many consumers read labels and look for products that don’t list it among their ingredients. A survey by the Nutrition Business Journal found HFCS tops the list of least-wanted foods. So instead of removing HFCS from products, the food industry is attempting to hide it from the public by renaming it “fructose.”
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Fructose in Fruit Versus Fructose in HFCS
Since fructose is contained in fruit, it sounds healthier than HFCS, right? Actually, the name is terribly misleading. When a person eats a piece of fruit, they consume fructose along with fiber, enzymes, minerals and vitamins. Conversely, when a person consumes the fructose in HFCS, they are ingesting high concentrations of it with the total absence of the healthful components of fruit. Research suggests it leads to obesity, diabetes and other ills, making it a health hazard extraordinaire.
Renamed HFCS Is Grossly Misleading
In 2010, the Corn Refiners Association tried to improve the image of HFCS by petitioning that it be renamed “corn sugar.” Thankfully, the Food and Drug Administration turned down their request in 2012. Now, manufacturers have changed the name of a form of HFCS called HFCS-90 to fructose. Regular HFCS contains 42 to 55 percent fructose, while HFCS-90 contains 90 percent.
In other words, the food ingredient now called fructose contains even higher concentrations of one of the primary components within HFCS linked to health issues. Rather than being a healthier product, which the name implies, it is more of health risk than regular HFCS. In fact, since it contains more fructose, the FDA declined to recognize HFCS-90 as safe.
Food companies are taking advantage of the name change to hide HFCS in their products. On the front of General Mills’ Vanilla Chex cereal box, it says the product contains “no high fructose corn syrup.” Yet in the ingredients, it lists fructose, the more concentrated form of HFCS. This means manufacturers are successfully concealing the fact that their products contain the ingredient consumers want to avoid.
8 Deceiving Names for High Fructose Corn Syrup
1. Maize syrup
2. Glucose syrup
3. Glucose/fructose syrup
4. Tapioca syrup
5. Fruit fructose
6. Crystalline fructose
This Practice Is Legal but Not Ethical
Since the FDA hasn’t recognized HFCS-90, alias fructose, as safe, how can companies use it in their products? The problem stems from the use of the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designation. For a long time the FDA has used GRAS as a quick way to exempt common food additives like vinegar from lengthy reviews. In the beginning, the system worked well because GRAS was mainly used for tried-and-true ingredients. The turning point came in 1997 when amid budget cuts and complaints on long review times, the FDA decided to allow food companies to review their own products and determine what is safe.
This decision ushered in an era of public health risks since manufacturers aren’t required by law to submit their ingredient reviews to the FDA for approval. Because food companies have little oversight, out of an estimated 10,000 ingredients in processed food, 3,000 have not been reviewed by the FDA for safety. Fructose is just one ingredient among this untested group.
“It’s become a very loose system where companies can put kind of anything they want, practically, into the food supply,” says Michael Jacobson, PhD, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest.
This self-regulatory system of the food industry legally enables it to put profits above safety, so the GRAS designation should be overhauled. In the meantime, it’s best to avoid buying products that list fructose in the label.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.