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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Different Names for Chemicals - High Fructose Corn Syrup vs Corn Sugar

By September 16, 2010

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Fructose (NEUROtiker)Time Healthland reports high fructose corn syrup may be getting a new name. The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) seems to think changing the name of "high fructose corn syrup" to "corn sugar" will allay consumer fears that the chemical is bad for them. High fructose corn syrup contains 45% glucose and 55% fructose, which are both sugars, so "corn sugar" is a reasonable name for the substance. To me, it just seems like an attempt to mislead the public into thinking they are using a completely different product.

However, most chemicals have multiple names. Do you put baking soda in your cookies or do you use bicarbonate of soda? Which would you put in your food: cream of tartar or potassium bitartrate?

What do you think of the renaming of high fructose corn syrup? Would you think a food sweetened with "corn sugar" would be better for you than one containing "high fructose corn syrup"?

Image: Chemical structure of fructose, the controversial portion of high fructose corn syrup. (NEUROtiker)


September 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm
(1) Dr B says:

You are right Anne Marie! This is just a ploy of the corn industry to make high fructose corn syrup sound more natural and healthy. Too much sugar is ruining the health of our society. Instead of changing the name why don’t they change the compounds themselves?

September 16, 2010 at 4:19 pm
(2) John says:

Neither corn syrup (mostly glucose) nor high-fructose corn sugar is a natural product. Corn syrup is made from corn starch. HFCS has part of the glucose isomerized to fructose.

September 17, 2010 at 12:15 pm
(3) Cynthia 1770 says:

Hi Anne,
My google alert for HFCS picked up your post.
Here’s a real reason not to lump corn syrup (100% glucose) with high fructose corn syrups (with varying amounts of free fructose)unter the gentle term “corn sugar”.
There is a segment of the population that has Fructose
intolerance. There are two different forms of FI. One
is a maladsorption problem that causes bloating, gas, and osmotic diarrhea and affects about 30% of the popoulation. The other, more rare and which may prove fatal, resuls from the hereditary defect of a liver enzyme that metabolizes fructose. For those with
FI it is crucial to know which foods have free fructose which they must avoid.

September 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm
(4) Cedric says:

I think it’s an obvious marketing ploy. It will probably work somewhat, because a lot of people are wary about consuming too much HFCS. However, a lot of people are increasingly aware of the abundance of corn-derived products in our foods, and are trying to avoid them as much as possible. Also, a lot of people try to avoid high-carb products and things with “sugar” high on the ingredients list.

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