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CSPI, corn refiners defend corn syrup.

High fructose corn syrup does not promote weight gain and obesity in humans any more than does table sugar, and a recent contrary report by a White House panel is both unwarranted and misleading, according to an unlikely pairing of Washington interest groups.

In a letter to President Bush, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Corn Refiners Association claim that the most recent annual report of the President's Cancer Panel "diverges from accepted science in its unfair effort to identify high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a uniquely important contributor to obesity, which is a risk factor for cancer."

According to the two organizations, the report's "multiple, pejorative references to HFCS are unwarranted and risk mistakenly reinforcing the myth--now effectively disproved by a steadily growing body of research evidence--that HFCS and sugar might affect the body differently."

"While CSPI certainly thinks Americans are consuming far too much sugar from cane and beet sources and HFCS, research demonstrates that the body treats those sweeteners in the same way," according to a CSPI statement. "It is time to kill the 'urban myth' that HFCS is more harmful than sugar (sucrose). The myth apparently developed because some people believed that HFCS is virtually 100% fructose, but, in fact, is about 50% glucose and 50% fructose, the same as sugar," said the organization.

The letter urges that the annual report be revised as soon as possible to reflect the scientific evidence that demonstrates "no material differences in the health effects of HFCS and sugar."

The organizations also point out that the original report of the President's Cancer Panel argues that farm subsidies "lead to increased production of HFCS, implies that such increased production leads to lower prices and greater consumption, and suggests that HFCS promotes weight gain and obesity more than does table sugar."

In closing, CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson and CRA President Audrae Erickson say: "As a respected source of information, the President's Cancer Panel serves an important role in disseminating credible, scientifically based information to the American public. We urge that a corrected edition of the 2006-2007 Annual Report be published as soon as possible and that the edition on the Internet be revised immediately to provide the public with science-based facts regarding high fructose corn syrup."
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Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Date:Sep 24, 2007
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