HFCS – By Any Other Name

They’re out to change its name. Those poor old members of the Corn Refiners Association, who’ve been finding it hard to make their dollar billions of late, are “requesting” the Food & Drug Administration change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup, that nasty insidious sweetener that’s been pervading processed foods in the US since the 1970s.

They say it’s had ‘bad press’, is exactly like natural sugar, and a real boon to all us consumers, who should be turning to face the Archer Daniel Midland factories twice a day and prostrating ourselves in supplication for the miracle of HFCS – or, “corn sugar”, as they now wish to call it.

You’ll note that, in the first paragraph, I used the word ‘requesting’ in inverted commas. It was because anyone who’s done an iota of research into the FDA will know the organization has little to do with government these days and is controlled and regulated by big business – and they don’t come much bigger than the CRA. So, we can be sure they’ll get their way. In the not so distant future, the term ‘High Fructose Corn Syrup” will be disappearing from food labels, and the more benign-sounding, “corn sugar” will take its place.

There will, no doubt, be an advertising campaign alongside this innocent little name change, designed to persuade us all the ‘new’ product is bursting with healthy ingredients, and to not eat it will cause all manner of ills to befall.

Beware! It’s still the same old stuff.

Argument for and against HFCS has raged since ADM and its competitors began production three decades ago. It’s hard to separate the relevant independent research studies from those financed by the industry (which are, of course, worthless).

However, HFCS has been linked to liver disease, as a recent study by Duke University Medical Center suggests:

“We found that increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup was associated with scarring in the liver, or fibrosis, among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD),” said Manal Abdelmalek, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Duke University Medical Center……… Research Abdelmalek published in the Journal of Hepatology in 2008 showed that, within a small subset of patients, high fructose corn syrup was associated with NAFLD. Her latest research, published online in Hepatology, goes one step further and links high fructose corn syrup to the progression of liver injury.

“Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is present in 30 percent of adults in the United States,” Abdelmalek said. “Although only a minority of patients progress to cirrhosis, such patients are at increased risk for liver failure, liver cancer, and the need for liver transplant,” she explained.

“Unfortunately, there is no therapy for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,” she said. “My hope is to see if we can find a factor, such as increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup, which, if modified, can decrease the risk of liver disease.”[1]

Of course, the CRA was quick to issue a statement condemning this research. A link to that statement is available at the end of the article in Science Daily (see link below).

The members of the CRA would have us believe they’ve been the victims of a smear campaign. The trouble they go to producing this product, the benevolent manner in which they make it available to all, is being undermined by nasty, underhand, scientists and journalists determined to see them in the poorhouse.

One aspect of HFCS production is consistently overlooked in the argument. Even if it were the best thing since sliced bread (and that’s not saying much these days), and an elixir of life for us all, the pollution and contamination from industrial plants manufacturing this muck is a disgrace to American society and an appalling degradation of life to residents living in the shadow of stinking factories and evilly-belching chimneys.

And that is something another, so-called, government department – the Environmental Protection Agency – never does anything about.

I wonder why?

[1] “High Fructose Corn Syrup Linked to Liver Scarring, Research Suggests” Science Daily, March 23rd 2010

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2 Replies to “HFCS – By Any Other Name”

  1. There is a cure for this of course, read every.single.label. and avoid all processed foods.
    When something has to be renamed we are all in serious, serious trouble.

  2. All in the time-honoured tradition of manipulating the minds of the US public, RJ.

    (First thing I noticed when I came to the US – how flippin’ sweet everying is – even the bread for goodness sake – who decided bread should be sweet ?)

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