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Sugar

Sugar is Making a Comeback as a "Natural" Alternative to High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Monday, June 15, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: sugar, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) As consumers become increasingly wary of high fructose corn syrup and other processed foods, food manufacturers are turning back to the use of sugar, billing it as a "natural" sweetener.

"Sugar was the old devil, and high-fructose corn syrup is the new devil," said Marcia Mogelonsky, of the market-research firm Mintel International.

High-fructose corn syrup first became popular as a sweetener in the United States in the late 1970s, because subsidies made it cheaper and its liquid form made it easier to transport or blend into products than sugar. Its cheapness led to the addition of sweeteners to many previously unsweetened foods, such as bread, which has been blamed for a role in the obesity epidemic that began in the 1980s. More recently, researchers have raised health concerns over the sweetener's effects.

Food scandals and the increasing popularity of natural and organic foods have also contributed to consumer wariness over industrially extracted products like high-fructose corn syrup, and have made the more natural-seeming sugar seem appealing in contrast. Coke's seasonal sodas, sweetened with sugar for observant Jews who cannot consume corn products during the Passover season, have become so popular among non-Jews that some stores were forced to ration them.

Major food producers have responded to consumer desire by jumping on the "natural sweetener" bandwagon. Pepsi has introduced a new soda, Pepsi Natural, made with sugar, and sugar rather than corn syrup is used to sweeten the sauce on Pizza Hut's "The Natural" pizza. Kraft Foods has phased corn syrup out of all its salad dressings and plans to fully remove it from all Lunchables products soon. Even ConAgra has pledged to use only sugar or honey in its Healthy Choice All Natural line of frozen entrees.

Health professionals warn, however, that the nutritional difference between sugar and high-fructose corn syrup is minor, at best.

"The argument about which is better for you, sucrose or HFCS, is garbage," said pediatric endocrinologist Robert H. Lustig of the San Francisco Children's Hospital. "Both are equally bad for your health."

Sources for this story include: www.nytimes.com.

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