With the advent of processed byproducts, the cheap way to sweeten products has been alchemy: turning American corn into a sugar substitute. But "high fructose corn syrup" has acquired a very bad reputation in the last few years, and now the Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to rename it "Corn Sugar."
Call me crazy, but how can changing the name of something that is bad for you and keeping that something just as bad for you ease the discomfort of millions of Americans who read labels to see what they are ingesting before it starts digesting?
At the aptly named Cornsugar.com, the feed growers have placed their trust in spin masters and lobbyists to help change the way that Americans are eating -- from good back to bad. Here's what Joan Salge Blake, a clinical associate professor at Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, told Redbook magazine (of all places) this past June: "When high-fructose corn syrup and sugar are absorbed into our bloodstream, the two are indistinguishable by the body."
She sounds fat.
But I wonder if the Corn Refiners Board really considered all the other name possibilities? Here are my top five choices:
1) Korn Sweetener. If we change the C to a K, the whole meaning changes and it becomes kid-friendly.
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2) Liquid Maize. This combines old-time America and a woman's penchant for buying anything with the word "liquid" on the label.
3) Pop-Up Corn Sweets. The name brings to mind Jiffy Pop -- and who doesn't remember placing that pan on the stove and watching the magic happen. See, you're thinking about it already.
4) Organic High Fructose Corn Syrup. Of course, placing the word "organic" in front of anything will have the masses flocking to Whole Foods like sheep.
5) A-Maizing Sugar. My favorite. Because yes, this enhanced, corn-derived embalming fluid is indeed "amazing."