Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Public sours on Illinois' sweet spot

Another Illinois industry is under siege. Demand for high-fructose corn syrup, the cheap sugar substitute that sweetens most of the nation's soft drinks and many of its foods, has been dropping fast amid suspicions about its health effects.

The sweetener has taken a beating in the media, with everyone from Michelle Obama to the American Heart Assn. badmouthing it.

"You start reading the labels, and you realize there's high-fructose corn syrup in everything we're eating," the organic-minded first lady complained in a magazine interview earlier this year. "Every jelly, every juice."

Actually, not so much anymore. Responding to consumer pressure, Kraft Foods Inc., Pizza Hut, Starbucks Corp., PepsiCo Inc. and others have switched to sugar in some or all of their products in recent months

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