A growing number of dietitians and nutritionists have joined grocery chains in the past decade to help advise consumers on important health issues. Many of them have taken the stance that a well rounded, balanced diet is key – choosing not to single out particular products or ingredients sold on their shelves as being unhealthy, unless they are over-consumed.
At Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans, one consumer asked specifically about the impact of high-fructose corn syrup via the retailer’s website earlier this year.
“Wegmans’ nutrition team has had many discussions on the subject of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS),” noted Jane Andrews, M.S. R.D. in response. “We believe that it is safe, yet agree that it has no nutritional value other than calories. It is a less expensive alternative to cane sugar or honey. Yet, nutritionally it is no better or worse than any other added sugar. The problem comes when people eat too much sugar overall – either displacing healthier food or causing weight gain.”
Andrews continued, “Our ‘eat well. live well.’ philosophy emphasizes plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains balanced with moderate physical activity. However, we believe that all foods and beverages, even an occasional sweet treat, can fit in a healthy lifestyle.”
Meanwhile, a nutritionist at West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee responded to a consumer’s question about in-store information on sweeteners she had read in a Hy-Vee store. The customer questioned whether corn syrup and sugar are similar in makeup. “[High-fructose] corn syrup and table sugar both contain the same number of calories per gram, and according to multiple studies, are digested and metabolized similarly in humans,” said Jamie Jarvis, MPH, RD, LD.