"You know I've always heard of corn syrup, but I don't think I had any idea what the high fructose corn syrup was," mother Amy Wilson said.
High fructose corn syrup is a processed sweetener made from corn. It's in hundreds of foods.
"I was very surprised. Things like crackers that aren't even sweet," Wilson said.
It's in everything: cereals, fruit juices, even low fat yogurt, cough syrup and steak sauce.
"It truly is in just about every food product that's processed," dietitian Linda Van Horn said.
But many doctors, dietitians and nutritionists believe there's a dark side to high fructose corn syrup. Linda Van Horn is a research dietitian at Northwestern University and editor of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
"The mom really needs to be the defender of their children and their exposure to all these foods," Van Horn said.
She agrees with research that associates the rise of obesity related health risks with the invention of high fructose corn syrup in the early 1970's.
"Between 1970 to 1990, there was a 1,000 percent increase in the amount of high fructose corn syrup and certainly the predominant sweetening agent in all soft drinks," Van Horn said.
"Well there's no evidence to suggest that consumption of soft drinks is responsible for obesity in this country," said John White of the Corn Refiners Association.
White is an Illinois bio-chemist and spokesman for the Corn Refiners Association. He says there's almost no difference between high fructose corn syrup and common table sugar.
"The composition of high fructose corn syrup is nearly identical to sugar, to honey, to fruit juice concentrates. When these reach the blood, the body can't tell where they came from," White explained.
Meanwhile, Amy Wilson is following her own nutritionist's advice. She checks for high fructose corn syrup on the labels.
"And if it's in the top three, then it would be worth not having that at all or very often," White said.
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