Name Games: "Corn Syrup" Versus "Corn Sugar"

If the controversy over high-fructose corn syrup hasn't already got your head spinning, here's a new twist: The Corn Refiners Association recently petitioned the FDA for a name change to the more natural-sounding (though not significantly more appetizing) "corn sugar."

In her Well column in the New York Times, writer Tara Parker-Pope notes that "public perception of high-fructose corn syrup as unhealthful has prompted many food companies to stop using it..." She also notes that HFCS isn't the first foodstuff to undergo a linguistic transformation, referring both to canola oil (formerly "rapeseed oil") and dried plums (formerly, and still to many of us, "prunes").

What other foods have changed names in order to sound more appealing?


1. Mini hamburgers. For the past few years, they've morphed into "sliders," which sounds significantly more upscale. And sliders tend to cost more, too.

2. Kids who wouldn't go near a "yogurt shake" will happily suck down a "smoothie."

3. Clementines are marketed as Cuties, and when they're in season, people buy them by the crate load. Who wouldn't want a crate of Cuties?

4. Mahi-mahi was once known as dolphinfish. But who wants to even think about dolphins when eating a fish sandwich? Not many people, apparently.

5. Which sounds tastier: a Chinese gooseberry, or a kiwi?

Corn sugar or high fructose corn syrup?


Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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