Sugar is dead. Long live sugar!
It seems that American food makers are finally getting a little nervous about high fructose corn syrup and are switching back to sugar, reports The New York Times.
While nutrition experts – and likely most dentists – consider the switch nutritionally meaningless, at least one person besides myself in this world will be happy with the switcheroo: my wife, Anne.
That’s because she is allergic to something in corn syrup. Perhaps it is the corn. Perhaps it’s the caustic soda and traces of mercury. Whatever the case, sugar is better for my wife than corn syrup.
As I mentioned, the experts are having none of it, writes the Times:
Though research is still under way, many nutrition and obesity experts say sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are equally bad in excess.
Although researchers are looking into the effects of fructose on liver function, insulin production and other possible contributors to excess weight gain, no major studies have made a definitive link between high-fructose corn syrup and poor health. The American Medical Association says that when it comes to obesity, there is no difference between the syrup and sugar.
Well, I disagree. Look, sugar is bad; dental problems in this country surged along with the growing consumption of sugary foods and drinks. The stuff isn’t so good for blood sugar levels.
But corn syrup is just too weird. The product is labeled natural, but made with not only caustic soda but hydrochloric acid and a host of enzymes. When I used to drink soda laden with corn syrup (ages ago,) my legs would get weak and my body and mind would feel jittery. As a result, I would eat a heavy meal to make the sensation go away. Sugar never caused that problem.
Still, I avoid sugar in favor of other sweeteners. I love agave sugar, but it leaves me wired for hours and hours. So nowadays I favor the wonderful variety of honeys, which has some trace minerals and maybe some antioxidants.
I also love costly, Grade B maple sugar. Why B? I like the stronger flavor. Grade A, is, well, boring.
Are my preferred sugars better for you? No, not really, but perhaps I consume less of these sugars because they have flavor and character that table sugar and corn syrup lack.
Of course, the best way to consume sugar is when the stuff is bound up in an apple or watermelon. But in the meantime, I suspect putting sugar in soda is still better than the horrible, awful stuff known as high fructose corn syrup.
I recently reviewed the book Stuffed for the Los Angeles Times in which author Hank Cardello suggests that companies should secretly switch out ingredients to improve product nutrition. It seems the industry is listening, at least when it comes to corn syrup.