September 15, 2010
The good news: Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup is at a 20-year low.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The bad news: The folks who make this insidious sweetener aim to rebrand it to boost sales.
High-fructose corn syrup is cheaper than cane sugar and acts as a food preservative, too, so the food industry loves the stuff. But it’s been added to so many foods — yogurt, cereal, bread, drinks and even condiments — that researchers have fingered it as a culprit in the obesity epidemic.
The Corn Refiners Association has in the past marketed high-fructose corn syrup as natural. Our Bad Medicine columnist Christopher Wanjek argues otherwise:
“High-fructose corn syrup could be all-natural if cornstarch happened to fall into a vat of alpha-amylase, soak there for a while, then trickle into another vat of glucoamylase, get strained to remove the Aspergillus fungus likely growing on top, and then find its way into some industrial-grade D-xylose isomerase. This funny coincidence didn’t happen in nature until the 1970s in a lab somewhere in Japan.”