Sugar producers have banded together against the Corn Refiners Association to try to stop them from renaming HFCS to “corn sugar.” The Western Sugar Cooperative and other sugar beet producers sued the Corn Refiners Association for false advertising in a Los Angeles Court. Yesterday the CRA asked federal judge Consuelo Marshall to dismiss the suit.
Articles by the Associated Press yesterday (and pretty much copied by the Huffington Post) explain that the sugar industry does not want this rebranding to take place because calling HFCS “sugar” can help take market share away from sugar. A somewhat more rational article by CNBC explains this more clearly.
The problem with the former two articles is that they do everything they can to confuse the reader using scientific arguments that are dead wrong. First the articles say that
Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has said that there’s no evidence that the sweetener is any worse for the body than sugar.
The CSPI is a very conservative organization on matters of food and health and if they say there is no evidence, there’s no evidence.
Then the articles go ahead and quote
Michael Goran, a professor of preventive medicine and director of the Childhood Obesity Center at the University of Southern California, said he does not give his kids products containing high fructose corn syrup because it contains high levels of fructose, which can be stored in the liver as fat and trigger gout and hypertension problems… “The industry has done a very good job trying convince people it’s sugar from corn. It’s not … it’s manufactured from corn by a highly industrialized process.”
Don’t go to this guy for a medical consult: HFCS is pretty much the same as sugar, containing generally only about 55% fructose. Sugar is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. The sugar and corn syrup and we buy here at Stop and Shop are both sugars.
And how HFCS is manufactured is hardly relevant to the content of the final product. It’s sugar.
So the press finds one quotable individual to take the other side against nearly all scientists and try to indicate that this is one of those “one the other hand” issues where opinion is equally divided. It’s not. Nearly all scientists agree with the CSPI.
Setting up these faux debates is akin to the press pretending there is a substantial debate about climate change. That’s not true either. More than 98% of all climate scientists and all major scientific organizations have concluded that climate change is real and is caused by human activity. Those denying these hard facts are simply science crackpots.
American politicians are one of the few remaining groups trying to pretend there is a debate about climate change, and this is driven by the fact that their supporters would find it expensive to comply with new emissions regulations.
Pretending there is a legitimate debate here on either issue may sell newspapers (or eyeballs), but it diminishes the press every time they take up either of these issues and try to quote credible experts on “both sides.”
You can always find crackpots to take any side on scientific issues, but they don’t weigh equally against the opinions of major scientific organizations.
“Corn sugar” is just a renaming of HFCS. It really is a mixture of sugars despite confusion and doubt that sugar refiners would like to create.
- HFCS: the myths continue
- THe myth of refined sugar