Sugar is Back on Food Labels — This Time as a Selling Point

Sugar, long reviled by dentists and dietitians, is now being dressed up as a natural, healthful ingredient. Some of the biggest players in the American food business have started replacing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) with old-fashioned sugar, and using this as a selling point.

ConAgra uses only sugar or honey in its new Healthy Choice All Natural frozen entrees, and Kraft Foods recently removed HFCS from its salad dressings.

The change comes after three decades during which HFCS had been gaining on sugar in the American diet. Consumption of the two finally drew even in 2003, according to the Department of Agriculture. However, per capita, American adults ate about 44 pounds of sugar in 2007, compared with about 40 pounds of HFCS.

With sugar sales up, the Sugar Association last year ended its Sweet by Nature campaign, which pointed out that sugar is found in fruits and vegetables.

Though research is still under way, many nutrition and obesity experts say sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are equally bad in excess.

  New York Times March 20, 2009

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