This prompted an email from an enterprising PR person, telling me that Hansen’s Natural recently decided to stop putting high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in their natural soda.
Sounds good, right? But is everything as sweet as it seems?
Anyone who ever reads my blog knows the first thing I reach for is the ingredient list. Well, we know we no longer have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the natural sodas. But what do we have? Here’s the list for the Cherry Vanilla Creme Natural Cane Soda:
Pure triple filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, citric acid, natural flavors with extracts of madagascan vanilla and washington cherry
So what does this tell us?
That we are paying predominately for water and that we are, in essence, drinking flavored sugar water.
It’s no surprise that every can is 160 calories.
But is this better than the high fructose corn syrup version?
High fructose corn syrup is a type of sugar that has all sorts of problems connected with it, not the least of which is obesity. Although cane sugar is a type of sugar, too, it is not supposed to give you the soaring highs and crashing lows of HFCS and white sugar and other, similar, sugars.
But cane sugar is still a sugar, with tons of calories and little or no nutritional value. So, as the saying goes, you might as well apply it directly to your hips.
Why did Hansen’s Natural switch from HFCS to cane sugar in the first place?
Hansen’s Natural says their consumers prompted the change. Of course, had no one complained, presumably they would continue to make it with HFCS. Like they do with their energy drink, Energade, which is bursting with high fructose corn syrup.
But if they still make soda with HFCS, should Hansen’s Natural change their name?
Considering that the FDA said that “... high fructose corn syrup cannot be considered 'natural' ...,” that is a very good question, indeed.
(If any of you are still tempted to try these, I figured it was my solemn duty to report on the taste. So, relying on the good nature of my unsuspecting husband, I gave him four cans in four different flavors and asked for his opinion. He said, universally, that they are all unpleasantly tart with a chemical under taste. He then asked me to do something he rarely asks me to do with food or drink. He asked me to throw out the rest of the six-packs. Which I did.)