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Sweetness Versus Science


Corn in the USA

The Science Behind America's Favorite Sweetener

The Debate

The Princeton Study

America's Return to Sugar


References & Links

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America's Return to Sugar   

    Since its introduction to the American market at the end of the 1960s HFCS and sugar have been battling for a place in America’s diet.  This battle has been complicated by sugar tariffs and corn subsidies.  The controversy over the health effects of HFCS has possibly contributed to changing consumption patterns of sugar and HFCS in the last 10 years.

    In light of the controversy over the health effects of HFCS and under pressure from consumers many food manufacturers are now offering options with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.  America’s return to sugar has not gone unnoticed.  A New York Times article printed in March 2009 titled “Sugar is Back on Food Labels, This Time as a Selling Point” discussed this trend.  Large corporations are now offering special products without HFCS or even switching over from HFCS to sugar completely. For example, PepsiCo, ConAgra, Kraft Foods, and Pizza Hut have all gone back to sugar in at least some of their products.  There are now options on the shelves like Pepsi Natural, Mountain Dew Throwback, Healthy Choice All Natural frozen entrees, and even a Pizza Hut pizza called “The Natural,” (Severson).  Snapple, the iced tea maker, revamped its recipe and took out high-fructose corn syrup in 2009 after focus groups and taste tests (Lee).

    These new product offerings are partly due to consumer demands.  Signs of citizen demands for foods that contain sugar instead of HFCS include consumers buying Coca-Cola made in Mexico or Europe because their sodas usually use sugar instead of HFCS (Donovan, 2009).  Some stores have even rationed the Coca-Cola made during Passover that does not contain corn for their pro-cane sugar shoppers (Severson, 2009).  The consumer does have the power to choose what sodas they buy and more and more options are popping up to meet America’s demand for less HFCS.


Drinks without HFCS

Figure 5: New drinks that do not contain HFCS, photo by Great Beyond

Corn Sweetener Train Car

Figure 2: Corn Sweeteners Train Car, photo by boeke

Last updated:  5/7/2010


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