Howard County should not equate sugar with corn syrup

While the Sugar Association applauds efforts to combat childhood obesity, delivering 10 tons of sugar (or white sand as the case may be) to illustrate what people are putting in their bodies when they drink a soda unfortunately misses the mark, as does The Sun's headline: "Howard bans sales of sugary drinks on county property" (Dec. 12).

Sugar is sucrose — the all-natural sweetener you keep on your kitchen counter, not the sweetener in most beverages.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 90 percent of all caloric sweetener used in beverages in the United States is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), not sugar. In fact, in the past three years, only 4 percent of the U.S. sugar supply was used by the beverage industry.

Scientific evidence and the United States Food and Drug Administration tell us that HFCS and sugar are not the same product. Overlooking this distinction does not help in the fight against obesity, but it clouds these important efforts to promote consumer awareness.

Andrew Briscoe, Washington

The writer is president and CEO of the Sugar Association.

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