The whole high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) controversy has taken on a life of its own. As my good friend Kerry McLeod, the chief brand doctor at eBrandAid.com says, "It can be quite maddening!"
The issue has turned into a â€śHe Said/She Said/They Saidâ€ť whirlwind of misinformation thatâ€™s extremely confusing at times.
What is clear is that Kerry and the Brand Doctors are far from sweet on this stuff.
"For years now, food experts have been warning consumers about the dangers of HFCS," Kerry says. "Many feel it plays a major role in the obesity epidemics plaguing America and its youth.
"We at eBrandAid.com are hoping consumers have been listening and opting for the brands that donâ€™t contain this sweetener. In our opinion, consuming less HFCS would be good for the nationâ€™s health."
The Corn Refiners Associationâ€™s (CRA) recently launched their $20 million ad campaign aimed at making over the not-so-sweet image of HFCS.
CRA Core Messaging: High fructose corn syrup is natural since itâ€™s made from corn and has no artificial ingredients. It has the same calories as sugar, so itâ€™s okay to eat in moderation.
This approach is simple and to the point. But is it true?
Decoding the Fine Print
For starters, we agree that all sugary foods should be consumed in moderation.
Unfortunately, HFCS has crept into just about EVERYTHING we eat or drink â€" from salad dressings, to yogurts, to breads and cookies, jams, barbecue sauce, and soft drinks.
If youâ€™re not carefully reading food labels, odds are youâ€™re being stalked by HFCS and consuming it all day long without knowing it. So much for moderate consumption!
"Sorry, but no amount of advertising can convince our food sleuths that this stuff is Mother Nature-approved natural," Kerry says.
"HFCS doesn't actually exist anywhere in nature. Itâ€™s a manufactured product created by using enzymes to increase the fructose content of corn syrup to about 90%. Two of the three enzymes used in HFCS production are naturally occurring but the third is synthetic â€" and itâ€™s this glucose-isomerase that causes concern."
The CRA claims that the synthetic enzyme is never actually added to the HFCS. Instead, the sugar mixture is simply passed over it and it interacts with glucose to produce fructose.
Kerry notes, "Hereâ€™s what we at eBrandAid say: When in doubt, opt for brands that DO NOT contain this suspect sweetener. There are so many other brands that don't contain HFCS, so why risk it?"
Not sure where to turn? eBrandAid can help.
You wonâ€™t find any sweet surprises on their latest and greatest updated list of BestBrands. Print out this PDF file for easy access when shopping!