If you didn’t immediately know what I meant by “HFCS,” then you have been blissfully unaware of the fact that high fructose corn syrup is increasingly making the news as a dreaded ingredient to avoid at all costs. Some have accused the sweetener of contributing to the rise in diabetes and obesity in the United States.
The latest I heard was that if HFCS was one of the first five ingredients listed on a food label, you shouldn’t buy or eat that food. Do you have any idea how many products in the grocery store would never make it into your basket under that rule? It’s in everything from ketchup to breakfast bars to bread.
Corn sweeteners, like sugar and honey, are natural and meet the Food and Drug Administration’s policy for use of the term “natural.” Under FDA rules, “natural” means that “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.”
I guess my personal opinion is that high fructose corn syrup is OK in moderation. Same with fatty foods and alcohol and sugar. But the worst offender in the HFCS world may be sodas, and one company is taking steps, albeit temporarily, to change that. Pepsi just announced that they are going to market a “Pepsi Throwback” and a “Mountain Dew Throwback” made with real sugar instead of HFCS. Serious Eats says they will be available from April 20 to June 13. So get your real sugar while you can! Cuz after that, it’s back to high fructose corn syrup.
One other note: I’ve bought bottled sodas at ethnic markets that I think were probably shipped in from Mexico or South America. And I want to say they are still made with real sugar. Anyone know anything about that?