The makers of high-fructose corn syrup would understandably like to change the image of their product, which has gained a reputation as the trans fat of the sugar world.
In fact, as sales sink, they'd prefer a name change altogether — to corn sugar — and have asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to use it on food labels.
The liquid sweetener is a natural food, a Corn Refiners Association advertising campaign claims, and nutritionally the same as any other sugar.
The makers of table sugar — the granulated or powdered substance made from beets and sugar cane — will be in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles in an effort to stifle that campaign, but they're making too much of minor differences.
True, high-fructose corn syrup requires more processing than the familiar table sugar, using enzymes to derive the sugar from corn starch, but both undergo some processing.
More important, when it comes to how the human body metabolizes glucose, fructose, sucrose and the like, dietitians say the corn refiners have it mostly right: Sugar is sugar.
It's a source of empty calories; one isn't more healthful than another, and Americans consume too much of it, period.
Copyright Los Angeles Times. Reprint courtesy of The Associated Press.