Meghan is the State Breastfeeding Coordinator for DPH.
Controversy over consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) versus sugar has been a hot topic in the news for as long as I can remember. Recently, HFCS found itself back in the spotlight when the Corn Refiners Association petitioned the FDA to change their products’ name from HFCS to ‘corn sugar.’ Their goal is to clarify that HFCS is still sugar.
Hot on the heels of their request is PepsiCo’s introduction of natural soda beverages. To comply with consumer demand trends, PepsiCo has reformulated some of its popular sodas to eliminate HFCS. Recent research has shown that over half of US consumers would “avoid products that list HFCS as one of the first ingredients.” The launch of PepsiCo’s Sierra Mist Natural aims to embrace consumer demands and encourage other popular soft drink brands to switch from HFCS to the use of natural cane sugar or other natural sweeteners in their formulation.
The real question is: are natural sugars healthier for the body than high fructose corn syrup? To make high fructose corn syrup, sugar from cornstarch is modified from glucose to a mixture of glucose and fructose (another type of sugar), a product that is more stable and has a longer shelf life. Although past research showed an association between HFCS consumption (in beverages and fruit juices) and obesity and type-2 diabetes, recent research shows that HFCS are not unhealthier than other sweeteners, like sugar.
The bottom line is, dietary guidelines ask us to avoid or reduce consumption of sugar for better short- and long-term health. Therefore, healthy adults and teens should follow the rules of moderation when it comes to consumption of HFCS and sugar-sweetened beverages. Products made with either are high in calories and have limited nutritional value.
What do you think of the name change from high fructose corn syrup to ‘corn sugar?’ Will this merely make you more aware that you are consuming excess sugar or will it help you make better beverage choices the next time you are thirsty?
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Working Together to Improve Adult Immunization Rates in MA posted on Apr 23
Registration for the 19th Annual Massachusetts Adult Immunization Conference is open! This event, to be held May 20, 2014 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA attracts professionals from local public health organizations, long-term-care facilities, pharmacies, college health, hospitals, physician practices, community health centers, employers, health …Continue Reading Working Together to Improve Adult Immunization Rates in MA
Weekly Flu Report, April 18, 2014 posted on Apr 18
This week’s flu report shows a late-season increase in the rate of flu-like illness in the state – an indication of the unpredictability of flu and a reminder of the importance of taking simple measures to stop the spread of illness in our homes and communities. …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, April 18, 2014
DPH Kicks Off Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking and Prescription Drug Abuse posted on Apr 15
Last week, the Department hosted the first in a series of statewide Town Hall Meetings that will examine what can be done to prevent underage drinking and prescription drug abuse in the Commonwealth. Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) Director Hilary Jacobs was joined at the …Continue Reading DPH Kicks Off Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking and Prescription Drug Abuse