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Association defends corn syrup - Audrae Erickson

We read with interest the Oct. 25 article, Sudbury sports drink launch.

We read with interest the Oct. 25 article, Sudbury sports drink launch. The article, unfortunately, mischaracterizes high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a natural product derived from American and Canadian corn fields, by suggesting that the body processes it differently than sugar or honey.

HFCS is a natural, nutritive sweetener. HFCS contains approximately equal ratios of fructose and glucose. Table sugar also contains equal ratios of fructose and glucose. As noted by the FDA in 1996, "the saccharine composition (glucose to fructose ratio) of HFCS is approximately the same as that of honey, invert sugar and the disaccharide sucrose (or table sugar)."

HFCS has proven beneficial to consumers through its use in many foods and beverages, including several products that are made for special dietary purposes. It also gives chewy cookies and snack bars their soft texture and it protects freshness. HFCS actually inhibits microbial spoilage by reducing
water activity and extends shelf life through superior moisture control.

HFCS can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. In 1983, the (American) Food and Drug Administration listed HFCS as "generally recognized as safe" (known as GRAS status) for use in food, and the FDA reaffirmed that ruling in 1996.

According to the American Dietetic Association, "Consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners when consumed in a diet that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations ... as well as individual health goals."

Audrae Erickson
President Corn Refiners Association
Washington, DC