Could you imagine what a better world we would live if HFCS didn’t exist? Our children would be thin, we’d still have our teeth, and you wouldn’t be forced to choose between cancer-causing diet soda and nausea-inducing regular soda. Thanks to Passover, this week is a respite from artificiality: since observant Ashkenazi Jews are not permitted to consume corn products during the holiday (as we mentioned yesterday), Coca-Cola puts out sugar-only versions of its various products. These tend to sell out very quickly, reports the Sun-Times, since…well, sugar-based soda is so much better. A Coca-Cola spokesman explained, when asked why they don’t sell the natural alternative year round, “’from a volume and profit standpoint it’s a small fraction’ of the company’s business.” It makes sense that HFCS is cheaper than sugar, since the U.S. government subsidizes corn production in the United States, and U.S. sugar prices are kept artificially high through trade restrictions (so much for NAFTA).
If you’re wondering what the impact of corn-based ethanol will be on the sweetener wars, then you are bright and inquisitive and will go far in life. In fact, the Accidental Hedonist linked to a story in BusinessWeek about just that very thing. Depending on the energy market, HFCS could quickly become more expensive than the sugar it replaced. Now, some people are addicted to HFCS and would be sad, but we think that the speed with which the kosher for Passover Coke sells out speaks to an enormous pent-up demand for caloried soda that doesn’t burn your throat on its way down. Real sugar is quite a bit healthier than HFCS, which ought to please health advocates (then again, cane sugar soda does not exactly represent a great leap forward in the rationalization of the American diet). Last, and least, soda companies wouldn’t have to retool for every fershlugginer holiday. By the way, Mexican coke is made with cane sugar, comes in cute bottles, and is available at places like Fox & Obel.
Cola fans know Passover brings out ‘real’ Coke [Sun-Times]
Sodas leaving HFCS? [Accidental Hedonist]
Will Soda Makers Shuck Corn for Sugar? [BusinessWeek]
Our Sweet Ending: Health Consequences With High Fructose Corn Syrup Consumption [The Science Creative Quarterly]