Recent marketing claims that sugar is healthier than high fructose corn syrup are misleading to consumers, claim three leading scientists.
They corrected inaccuracies and misunderstandings concerning high fructose corn syrup's impact on the American diet in a session, High Fructose Corn Syrup: Sorting Myth from Reality, at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California.
"Contrary to its name, high fructose corn syrup is essentially a corn sugar," said sweetener expert Dr. John S. White, president of White Technical Research.
Dr. James M. Rippe, cardiologist and biomedical sciences professor at the University of Central Florida, said: "By every parameter yet measured in human beings, high fructose corn syrup and sugar are identical. This is not surprising since high fructose corn syrup and sugar are metabolized the same by the body, have the same level of sweetness and the same number of calories per gram."
Dr. David Klurfeld, national program leader for human nutrition in the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service, added: "This is a marketing issue, not a metabolic issue. The real issue is not high fructose corn syrup. It's that we've forgotten what a real serving size is.
We have to eat less of everything."
Fructose, containing sweeteners, such as sugar, invert sugar, honey, fruit juice concentrates, and high fructose corn syrup, are essentially interchangeable in composition, calories, and metabolism.
However, Dr. White insists that replacing high fructose corn syrup in foods with other fructose, containing sweeteners will provide neither improved nutrition nor a meaningful solution to the obesity crisis.
"In light of similarities in composition, sweetness, energy content, processing, and metabolism, claims that such sweetener substitutions bring nutritional benefit to children and their families appear disingenuous and misguided," White says.