Guest blogger JJ Virgin: Americans are wising up to the health hazards of high-fructose corn syrup; consumption of it is now the lowest it's been in two decades. Looking to revamp the syrup's image, the Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration for a change of name. Instead of calling it "high-fructose corn syrup," they hope to call it simply "corn sugar."
According to the Corn Refiners Association, the shorter name would clear up confusion about the sweetener.
After all, a name change successfully boosted sales of prunes (once marketed as dried plums) and canola oil (which used to be called "low eurcic acid rapeseed oil"), so they're hoping it will have a similar effect on corn syrup sales. But whatever you call it, high-fructose corn syrup (or any type of added sugar) is not a healthy addition to your family
Fructose is metabolized differently from other sugars; it can raise triglycerides and blood pressure and even lead to insulin resistance. That's why it's a good idea to avoid corn syrup, just as you would other types of sugars.
Ideally, your kids should get their sugar from eating a variety of fresh fruits per day (not fruit snacks or fruit-flavored candy). Anything with added sugar should be a special treat after they've eaten a nutritious, balanced meal.
Don't bring candy into the house on a regular basis, don't teach kids to expect dessert after every meal and don't give them sweets as a reward for completing their homework or doing their chores. There are other rewards you can offer that don't create an emotional connection between sweets and completed tasks. Rewarding kids with sweets is one of the reasons some people turn to comfort foods and stress-eating later in life!
Would high-fructose corn syrup by any other name be any less harmful? No. A name change may boost corn syrup sales, but it could also distract some consumers from the syrup's unhealthy effects.
Celebrity nutrition and fitness expert JJ Virgin is the author of "Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy" and the costar of TLC's "Freaky Eaters" reality series. Visit her at jjvirgin.com to grab her free audio, "7 Steps to Break Your 'Freaky' Food Habits Fast & Forever."