The Corn Refiners Association, in a battle for the hearts and minds of increasingly discerning Americans, has petitioned the federal government for permission to change the name of its sweet bounty, high fructose corn syrup. They instead want to call it “corn sugar,” the Associated Press reports.

Producers of the ubiquitous sweetener — which in the ’70s and ’80s replaced plain sugar in many food products, but which has fallen out of favor in recent years over concerns that it contributes to the country’s growing obesity epidemic — are taking to the media to clear the name of their beloved additive.

“It has been highly disparaged and highly misunderstood,” says Audrae Erickson, president of the agricultural trade group.


“Whether it’s corn sugar or cane sugar,” explains one recent advertisement, “your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar.”

Indeed, there is little known nutritional difference between the real deal and the corn-based variety, says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest — who adds that people should seek to minimize consumption of both.

The move by the Corn Refiners by no means represents the first corporate attempt at public reconciliation by way of name change. In 1998, for instance, rapeseed oil greatly benefited from a rebranding as “canola oil.”

“They’re not saying this is a healthy vitamin or health product,” said Tim Calkins at Northwestern University. “They’re just trying to move away from the negative associations.”

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