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'Gangs of Charlotte,' 'Cane enabled'

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Mislead me not into abandonment

I read your article ("Gangs of Charlotte" by Karen Shugart, May 23) and found it quite informative; however, I am rather disappointed at the misleading caption under the photo of the Honest Thrifty Grocery. The building is not abandoned -- there is a restaurant there that fronts the street and occupies the other side of the building. It is only this part of the building that has fallen into disuse. It has not been occupied since the proprietor of the store, a wonderful man from Africa named Rufus, was gunned down for $30 in the parking lot by three crackheads years ago. I just thought you would want to keep your reporting as accurate as possible.

-- Autumn Grimaldo, Charlotte

Sugar how you get so high

The May 23 article "Cane Enabled" by Tricia Childress included information on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that was well-researched and balanced. However, we would like to provide additional facts to clarify a few points.

There is no credible scientific evidence to suggest that HFCS is a unique contributor to obesity. The scientific information regarding pure fructose and weight gain is not correctly associated with HFCS because HFCS contains both fructose and glucose.

Dr. Walter Willett, Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Department Chairman, told The New York Times, "There's no substantial evidence to support the idea that high-fructose corn syrup is somehow responsible for obesity."

No credible research has demonstrated that HFCS affects the appetite differently than sugar. In fact, a recent study by Martine Perrigue, et al at the University of Washington, found that beverages sweetened with sugar, HFCS and aspartame, as well as 1 percent milk, all have similar effects on feelings of fullness.

HFCS is a natural, nutritive sweetener. HFCS, like table sugar and honey, is composed of fructose and glucose, which are found in many other naturally-occurring foods.

Both HFCS and sugar require processing to make the final sweetener. The sugar-refining process consists of numerous steps and process aids including: multiple clarifying steps with heat and lime, polymer flocculent and phosphoric acid; multiple evaporation steps; centrifugation; washing with pressure filtration or chemical treatment; and decolorization with carbon or bone char.

HFCS is made from corn starch, which is separated from other kernel components through multiple grinding and screening steps, centrifugation and washing. The HFCS refining process utilizes multiple enzymes and consists of numerous steps.

HFCS can be part of a balanced diet. In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration listed HFCS as "Generally Recognized as Safe" (known as GRAS status) for use in food, and reaffirmed that ruling in 1996. According to the American Dietetic Association, "Consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners when consumed in a diet that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations ... as well as individual health goals."

-- Audrae Erickson

President, Corn Refiners Association

Washington, D.C.

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