28 January, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup

You've seen the High Fructose Corn Syrup Propaganda ads that attempt to counter the rising public opionion against HFCS. Apparently, the Corn Refiners Association wants to tell us that people who oppose HFCS's ubiquity in American food are morons.

Let's rewrite the dialoge in this common commercial featuring Woman-1 and Woman-2.

WOMAN-1: Wow. You don't care what the kids eat, huh?

WOMAN-2: Excuse me?

WOMAN-1: That has high-fructose corn syrup in it.

WOMAN-2: And?

WOMAN-1: You know what they say about it?

WOMAN-2: What? That's it made from corn? That it doesn't have artificial ingredients? and that, like sugar, it''s fine in moderation?

WOMAN-1: No, the other stuff. Like although it doesn't have any artificial ingredients, HFCS doesn't occur in nature but is a manufactured product created by treating corn starch with enzymes. Or that the FDA's regulations don't allow products containing HFCS to be labeled as "natural."

Or that a study led by Dr. Chi-tang Ho, chairman of the Department of Food Science at Rutgers University, found that a single can of a HFCS sweetened soft drink contained five times higher concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult with diabetes (reactive carbonyls are strongly linked to nerve and tissue damage in diabetics) and that ordinary sugar contains no reactive carbonyls at all.

Or that the fructose raises triglyceride levels - a study by University of Minnesota professor John Bantle MD has shown that people using HFCS instead of sugar elevate their triglycerides 32% compared to people who only use sugar.

Or that it's nearly impossible to enjoy HFCS "in moderation" when nearly every processed food sold today contains it, thanks to government subsidies of the corn industry and import tariffs which keep the price of cane sugar artificially high?

Or that HFCS has now been found to contain measurable levels of mercury, perhaps because of contamination of the industrial materials used to process it?

WOMAN-2: Oh...uh...Hahahahaha! You're right! I don't give a shit what my kids eat!

Actually, with regards to the mercury thing...modern instrumentation has made the term "measurable levels" nearly meaningless. I've seen lots of press releases about this latest mercury scare but no actual research. I'd welcome links to the real studies if anyone has them.

That doesn't mean, however, that HFCS isn't Satan's semen.



CJ said...

Yea that's pretty much the commentary I have every time I see one of those commercials.

Anonymous said...

I finally found the original report. They are talking about
parts per trillion! What a bunch of maroons.


And here's a critique on the report that is more a rant than a
critique but does shed some light on who was doing the testing:


I'm going to go out and buy two "big gulps". All that HFCS will
flush out the accumulated tuna mercury in my system.

Unknown said...

In reality the biggest problem with HFCS is the fructose. Fructose is not processed by insulin, it's processed by the liver. Too much and you can develop a condition called "fatty liver disease." http://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/fatty-liver-disease
Moderation, to much of anything can be bad for you.