After years of debate about the role of high-fructose corn syrup in the obesity epidemic, many food manufacturers are going back to using sugar to sweeten products. For many people, sugar and honey are seen as more natural products than corn syrup, so some food companies are choosing to play up the sugar angle in their marketing efforts. Con Agra, Pepsi and Kraft Foods are among those switching to sugar for some products.
That's an interesting change from the bad rap sugar has gotten in the past. Sugar has been blamed for causing weight gain and hyperactive behavior. Now corn syrup is being blamed for various ills. "Sugar was the old devil, and high-fructose corn syrup is the new devil, Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior analyst at market researcher Mintel International, told the New York Times.
Scientists say eating too much of either substance isn't good. Apparently American adults ate 44 pounds of sugar in 2007 and 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup. I feel my blood sugar rising just thinking about that.
The Corn Refiners Association has run ads defending the use of corn syrup in recent months, while the Sugar Association has taken a break from a campaign to highlight the fact that sugar is naturally found in fruits and vegetables because of growing acceptance of the sweetener.
Like so many other things when it comes to diet and nutrition, the conflicting messages about sugar and corn syrup are bound to confuse a lot of folks. The best thing you can do for your own health is learn to read food labels to understand exactly what you're putting in your mouth. Besides, with all the other chemicals and additives out there, sugar versus corn syrup isn't the only thing to worry about when purchasing food. If I can't pronounce or identify an ingredient, I don't want to eat it.