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Corn syrup by any other name would make you as fat [Video]

May 31, 2012|By David Lazarus

Points for trying.

The Food and Drug Administration has rejected the Corn Refiners Assn.'s attempt to rename high-fructose corn syrup -- a leading suspect in the obesity epidemic -- as the more wholesome-sounding "corn sugar."

Michael Landa, the FDA's food safety chief, says the change would suggest "a solid, dried and crystallized sweetener obtained from corn," rather than a sticky-sweet syrup cooked up in a factory.

High-fructose corn syrup has been widely used as a food sweetener since the late 1970s. It's now a common ingredient in cereals, sodas and many other processed foods and drinks.

Some (but not all) researchers say the ubiquity of high-fructose corn syrup is a key reason so many Americans are busting at the waistline. And that's why the sugar industry wants to keep its distance from the stuff. It challenged the idea that calling the syrup "corn sugar" is hunky-dory.

Dan Callister, a lawyer for the Sugar Assn., said the FDA's decision confirms his group's position that sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are completely different products.

For its part, the Corn Refiners Assn. issued a statement noting that the FDA denied its petition on "narrow, technical" grounds.

Whatever the reason, the agency ruled correctly. Changing the name of high-fructose corn syrup was nothing more than an attempt to trick and mislead consumers.

If there was nothing wrong with the stuff, after all, the corn-syrup industry would have proudly stood behind the name.

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