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High Fructose Corn Syrup Fails to Reinvent Itself as 'Corn Sugar'

Illustration for article titled High Fructose Corn Syrup Fails to Reinvent Itself as Corn Sugar

The makers of high fructose corn syrup are no doubt crying sugar sweet tears into their sodas today over the news that the FDA has ruled that they cannot change the name of their product to "corn sugar." The Corn Refiners Association had asked to change the name because they said people had a "bad impression of HFCS because of its complicated name." Ha. Or it's because we've been told repeatedly that it causes diabetes, obesity, and any number of other problems. But, yes, it's probably the lengthy moniker that gave it a bad name. Not that corn sugar even sounds all that different from corn syrup, but whatever... In any event, the FDA said no to corn sugar because technically sugar is "solid, dried, and crystallized," and syrup is "an aqueous solution or liquid food." (Sounds delicious!) Also there's apparently something else already on the market called corn sugar. Well, maybe they ought to aim for something completely new and different in a name. How about corn candy? Punch in the pancreas? Metabolism melter? Can't see why you wouldn't want to eat a piece of candy with one of those as the primary ingredient.


FDA Rules Corn Syrup Can't Change Its Name To Corn Sugar [WNYC]

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I know I'm preaching to the choir, here, but I'm so sick of the "Corn sugar is just like table sugar. Your body can't tell the difference!" propaganda bullshit. Your body CAN tell the difference. Table sugar (sucrose, which is a 1:1 ratio of fructose and glucose) and HFCS 55 (a 55:45 ratio of fructose and glucose) are absorbed and metabolized in completely different ways. This is gonna get sciency, so appologies in advance:

Sugars like sucrose are broken down in the intestine and the glucose yielded by that hydrolysis is taken up by a sodium-glucose transporter. Fructose, on the other hand, is absorbed farther along in the intestine by a non sodium-dependent process. Once absorbed (meaning, once they are being carried along in your blood circulation), both fructose and glucose enter portal circulation and are taken either to the liver, where fructose can be broken down into glucose, or into general circulation.

Circulating glucose stimulates insulin release from the pancreas. Insulin allows your cells to use glucose for energy. Fructose does NOT stimulate insulin release in vitro because the pancreas's beta cells lack the fructose transporter Glut5. So in vivo (IRL), when you eat foods sweetened with fructose, you get a smaller increase in glucose and insulin than if glucose or sucrose was eaten. The metabolism is DIFFERENT. We're still teasing out what that ultimately means now that the average American diet is bombarded with HFCS (I have my own opinions), but if nothing else, the absorption and metabolism of sucrose and HFCS are different. Period.

TL;DR: HFCS and table sugar are absorbed and metabolized differently.

NLE;WM: (Not Long Enough; Want More) (I just made that up. :) ) Here's a link to one of many studies explaining the difference in absorption and metabolism of the different sugars: []