The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Sugar Vs. HFCS: The Devil You Know

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Aug 25, 2009 4:00PM

Photo via the tastefully named blog "Stuff Immigrants Like."
There's been a backlash against high fructose corn syrup in recent years as the sweetener has been linked to a litany of health problems. But when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Or, if you're the soft drink industry, you make sodas loaded with sugar and market it as both a better-tasting product and a healthier alternative to HFCS.

We'll freely admit that, when it comes to soft drinks, we fall on the "real sugar" side: Jarritos and Mexican Coca-cola (available at Pete's Fresh Market) have both taken pantry space in Casa del Sudo. Now Crain's is reporting that Kraft has reformulated many of its products to remove HFCS. It's like replacing heavily cut cocaine with a blend that only contains less baby laxative. Costco is even selling Mexican Coke in select markets to rave reviews from consumers.

It's consumer awareness that's driving the change here: among many factors in corporate decisions to remove HFCS, "stuff made with sugar tastes better" consistently ranks high on consumer feedback. There are some that will dispute that, but studies have also shown that That's the good news. The bad news is that companies are simply replacing one bad ingredient with another and saying, "We're looking out for you."