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Calling it the “crack of sweeteners,” two Florida lawmakers are looking to ban products made using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) from being sold or distributed by the state’s school districts.

The Miami Herald reports that a bill – introduced by a bipartisan team consisting of Republican Rep. Juan Zapata and Democrat Sen. Gwen Margolis – is currently beginning to make its way through the state legislature. The premise of the bill is that high fructose corn syrup helps to cause childhood obesity and can lead to juvenile diabetes, it has no place in the public schools.

According to the paper, studies conducted at the University of California/Davis and the University of Michigan “have shown that fructose is more readily converted to fat by the liver, and increased the fat in the bloodstream in the form of triglycerides.”

However, Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, tells the paper that “passing this legislation would create a significant hardship for no health gain. There is no scientific evidence that supports the statement that high-fructose corn syrup is a contributor to diabetes or obesity.”

She isn’t alone in this assertion – and, in fact, she gets support from an unexpected quarter. Tuesdi Fenter, a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association, tells the Herald, “We don't think that high-fructose corn syrup is the enemy. People can have anything they want as long as it's in moderation.”
KC's View:
We would have expected this position from the Corn Refiners Association, which probably also would be in favor of moonshine. (Just kidding.) But we never would have expected such a comment from the American Diabetes Association, which in 2002 actually recommended that people with type 2 diabetes avoid fructose (other than fructose occurring naturally in food.

The problem with the ban is explained by the Herald - HFCS is in so many products than a ban simply may not be practical.

Maybe what is really needed is education – of the kids, the cafeteria staff, of the parents – so that the facts and fiction about HFCS can really be understood. Kids respond to this kind of education; based on conversations we’ve had around the dinner table and that she’s heard in school, our 11-year-old daughter has become a demon about avoiding foods with trans fats. She checks everything!

Still, it is an interesting effort by the Florida legislators, and can only help to draw more attention to America’s nutritional missteps.