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High Fructose Corn Syrup Would Prefer Not to Be Called That Anymore

The most maligned sweetener in America is trying to rebrand itself. The winning new message? We're no worse than our competitor! That's what manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup are trying to convey as they seek to change the name of their product, to "corn sugar." The Corn Refiners Association filed an application with the FDA Tuesday that would allow its product to be described as such on food labels, and they're already using the term in advertising and on their website. "Whether it's corn sugar or cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference," one ad says. "Sugar is sugar." Very public criticism from very prominent figures, including Michael Pollan and Michelle Obama, has led to a precipitous drop in high fructose corn syrup consumption in the U.S. Several high-profile food companies have abandoned the sweetener (but always in favor of some other form of sugar), and overall consumption is at a 20-year-low, even though "there is little scientific evidence" that high fructose corn syrup is more harmful than other kinds of sugar. 

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