Food Is Not Your Enemy

Corn Refiners Association Prez Tells Me What’s What With Regard to High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Okay, so yesterday I got a letter through the contact form on my Web site from Audrae Erickson, the president of the Corn Refiners Association. In my most recent column for AOL’s ParentDish, I advocated avoiding store-bought big-brand eggnog since it tends to contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). So Ms. Erickson felt the need to explain to me why HFCS is in fact awesome. Here’s her letter, with my comments inserted in all caps:

 Dear Ms. Schonborn:

We read the December 21 article “Christmas and Kwanzaa Foods: Safe or Scary?,” with interest. There has been a lot of confusion about high fructose corn syrup. I AGREE. SOME STUDIES HAVE SHOWN HFCS TO BE NO DIFFERENT THAN TABLE SUGAR WITH REGARD TO HOW IT AFFECTS OUR BODIES, BUT A NEW STUDY HAS SHOWN OTHERWISE. We would like to provide you with science-based information on this safe sweetener and be a reference for you for future articles. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA),THE ADA IS AN ORGANIZATION THAT SIGNED A PARTNERSHIP DEAL WITH COCA-COLA–I FEEL THE NEED TO TAKE THEIR NUTRITION RECOMMENDATIONS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT  “high fructose corn syrup…is nutritionally equivalent to sucrose. Once absorbed into the blood stream, the two sweeteners are indistinguishable.” AGAIN, SEE THE LATEST RESEARCH REFUTING THIS. The ADA also noted that “Both sweeteners contain the same number of calories (4 per gram) and consist of about equal parts of fructose and glucose.” (Hot Topics, “High Fructose Corn Syrup.” December 2008.)

High fructose corn syrup is used in the food supply because of its many functional benefits. It is used in certain applications for sweetening, and in other applications it performs functions that have little to do with sweetening. For example, it retains moisture in bran cereals, helps keep breakfast and energy bars moist, LARABARS MANAGE TO KEEP THEIR BARS MOIST AND THEIR ONLY INGREDIENTS ARE DRIED FRUIT AND NUTS–JUST SAYIN’ maintains consistent flavors in beverages and keeps ingredients evenly dispersed in condiments. High fructose corn syrup enhances spice and fruit flavors in yogurts and marinades. HOW ABOUT JUST USING FRUIT IN YOGURT, INSTEAD OF “FRUIT FLAVORS” THAT NEED TO BE “ENHANCED”? In salad dressings and spaghetti sauce, it improves flavor by reducing tartness. TARTNESS? ANY HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI SAUCE I’VE TASTED HASN’T SUFFERED FROM THIS PROBLEM, AND THEY HAVEN’T HAD HFCS OR ANY SWEETENER ADDED TO THEM Many foods only contain small amounts of high fructose corn syrup. For example, it would take 39 slices of bread to reach the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily allowance of added sugars from high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is a highly fermentable nutritive sweetener. It gives breads a pleasing brown crust. BREAD GETS A PLEASING BROWN CRUST FROM THE OVEN IF IT’S NOT A CHEAP PROCESSED BREAD. Please follow this link for more information. ( As many dietitians agree, all sugars should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced lifestyle. To read the latest research WHICH SUPPORTS THE CORN REFINERS ASSOCIATION’S POINT OF VIEW and learn more about high fructose corn syrup, please visit Please feel free to contact me if you would like additional information about the products made from corn.

Thank you for your consideration,

Audrae Erickson, President

Corn Refiners Association

Washington, DC

The main problem here for me is that Ms. Erickson is staunchly defending not just HFCS, but processed foods in general. In the past generation or so, many many Americans have stopped preparing home-cooked food, and instead have relied on calorie-dense convenience foods like the ones mentioned in her letter. And during this time, the number of obese Americans has skyrocketed (there are many factors contributing to this crisis, but I believe processed foods play a very large role). In a few of my AOL columns, I have said that one of the main reasons to avoid HFCS is that by doing so, you will avoid the junkiest foods on the market. I stand by that recommendation.

1 Comment so far
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At least he was not pretending to be a neutral anonymous citizen

Comment by Chicken Underwear

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