People who use 'high fructose corn syrup' and 'fructose' interchangeably are either uninformed or intentionally misleading consumers, says the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), and they'd like to set the record straight.

Well, we are certainly against deception by fundamentalists with agendas manipulating data so we are happy to help. Because there are so many recent studies on the effects of sweeteners in the diet, it is important that people understand the differences among various ingredients used in scientific studies.

First, they say, studies that show fructose being metabolized differently than high fructose corn syrup are not accurate. The abnormally high levels of fructose used in those studies are not found in the human diet. Fructose consumption at normal dietary levels and as part of a balanced diet has not been shown to yield the same results. Moreover, the presence in high fructose corn syrup of glucose in combination with fructose is a critical distinguishing factor from pure fructose.

Comparing high fructose corn syrup and fructose:

• High fructose corn syrup contains approximately equal ratios of fructose and glucose. Table sugar also contains equal ratios of fructose and glucose. High fructose corn syrup and sugar are equally sweet and both contain four calories per gram.

• Fructose is a natural, simple sugar commonly found in fruits and honey. The absence of glucose makes pure fructose fundamentally different from high fructose corn syrup. This is because glucose has been shown to have a tempering effect on specific metabolic effects of fructose.

• There is no difference in how the body metabolizes table sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Once the combination of glucose and fructose found in high fructose corn syrup and sucrose are absorbed into the blood stream, the two types of sweetener appear to be metabolized similarly using well-characterized metabolic pathways.

• If 'natural' is your thing, high fructose corn syrup is considered 'natural' by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is made from corn, a natural grain product and contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives. Think that's maddening? Check out the list of inorganic ingredients allowed in organic foods.

The American Medical Association in June 2008 helped put to rest a common misunderstanding about high fructose corn syrup and obesity, stating that “high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners.”