As I write this post, lawyers in Los Angeles are having a battle royale over whether high fructose corn syrup can be called corn sugar. Stepping back just a little bit reveals that the real duel is between the Sugar and Corn industries. Stepping back a little further reveals that this court case is simply a gargantuan effort to clarify how to name a food ingredient so it appears more marketable to the public. Ultimately lost in the fray is the fact that both of these products are sugar (in the biochemical sense), and neither of them is very good for us.
Food companies have done an excellent job defining sugar (again in the biochemical sense) on ingredient statements by the raw commodities they come from. Our failure to pick up on this trend probably has something to do with the disconnect between sugar as identified in the nutrition facts section (biochemical) and sugar as identified in the ingredient statement (botanical, if you will). Would we interpret Nutrition Facts Panels differently if there were different rules for ingredients? Probably. Here are just a few examples of how ingredient statements might read if the rules were a little different.
Regardless of the outcome of this court case (and any other attempt to name sweeteners for that matter), sugar, syrups, honey, agave, molasses, fruit concentrates, and evaporated cane juice are all sweeteners – ingredients all of us should be consuming in lower quantities.