Passover might not be starting until next week, but Coca Cola has already begun distributing 2-liter bottles of its kosher formula, which replaces high fructose corn syrup with sugar, to stores around the country. I know because I’ve got some chilling in the fridge.
Do Americans feel strongly enough about high fructose corn syrup to seek out food without it? Will anyone go out of their way and pay extra to find soda or ketchup without the controversial corn-based sweetener? AdAge reports that some companies are removing it from their products, but have discovered that marketing the change without alienating consumers who weren’t aware of or simply don’t care about the presence of HFCS poses unique problems.
The grocery shrink ray has struck bags of sugar in two different parts of the country. Bags that a rational consumer would assume contain five pounds of sugar–since they’ve contained five pounds of sugar for as long as most Americans can remember–now contain four pounds of sugar. Somehow, we don’t think that grocers are doing this as an effort to reduce Americans’ sugar consumption.
As part of its ongoing efforts to “help consumers balance calories consumed with calories expended,” Coca-Cola plans to roll out a 90-calorie can later this year. The 7.5-ounce can will include about 5 1/2 teaspoons of sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup), and may sell for about 50 cents per can.
Coca-Cola is getting ready to roll out new labels that will prominently display the calorie count for each bottle or can. “Now more than ever, people expect facts about the products they consume to be both readily available and visible,” said CEO Muhtar Kent. What facts won’t be on those labels? Any information about where the calories come from, like, say, high fructose corn syrup, is relegated to its traditional spot in the Nutrition Facts box. But with most non-diet sodas, the math is pretty easy: If the label says 100 calories, that’s pretty much 100 calories of sugar or corn syrup.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have just released the findings of a 2007 study on “blended coffee beverages” served by Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. The conclusion: “Calories in blended coffee beverages are high … modifying standard formulations of blended coffee beverages, such as using low-fat milk or smaller serving sizes, would also reduce calorie content.” Um, yeah.
A reader sent us this great event that Hy-Vee, a midwestern grocery chain, recently held to fight diabetes. Unfortunately the benefit has already ended, but join them next weekend when they fight cirrhosis with dollar beers.
The American Heart Association says we’re eating way too much extra sugar, meaning sugar that doesn’t naturally occur in our foods. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons a day. By contrast, the average woman should eat no more than 6 teaspoons daily, while the average man, owing most likely to his increased awesomeness, should eat no more than 9 teaspoons a day. [Eats another teaspoon of sugar before resuming typing.]
The food companies say we are on the brink of a sugar shortage that will wreak havoc on your candy bars and all that. According to the WSJ several large food companies including Kraft Foods Inc., General Mills Inc., Hershey Co. and Mars Inc. sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warning that the US could run out of sugar if we don’t get rid of some tariffs.
Last week, we wrote about how sugar isn’t any better than corn syrup when it comes to you health. But it turns out we were wrong. According to this old ad I just found, sugar is perfect for weight-watching: “That’s because sugar helps prevent you from overeating… with sugar in your diet, you’re happier with smaller portions of everything.”
This website displays photos of soft drinks, smoothies, candy, and even vegetables next to little piles of sugar cubes that represent the total sugar in them. This is a great service, because if you ever go into space you can simply use this site to pack a baggie full of an equivalent amount of cubes. Then you can enjoy your Space McFlurry without worrying about liquid contamination of the spacecraft.
Now that Pepsi has gotten the message that some people just prefer sugar-sweetened-soda, we’re wondering why Coke doesn’t offer it’s Kosher for Passover version all year round. It’s certainly popular with Coca-Cola aficionados of all religious persuasions.
Passover is a holiday that has special meaning to everyone, regardless of faith, because it’s the time of year when some food and drink companies release products sweetened with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). If you want to stock up on real sugar Coca-cola or u-bet chocolate syrup (which I’ve never heard of, but John Hodgman seems to like), or if you just want to see whether you can really taste a difference between HFCS and cane or beet sugar, now’s your chance.
The beverage makers are jumping off HFCS like rats off a sinking ship these days. Snapple has announced that it will will eliminate HFCS from its recipes. In at least once case this will actually result in fewer calories.