So, have you seen these ads?
“Oh… that has high fructose corn syrup in it.”
“Well, you know what they say…”
UH DUH DUH DUH DUH
(drool) duh duh duh duh duh
First off, let me say this:
I do not believe HFCS is at all to blame for the recent rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes rates.
I do not blame any food product or additive.
I blame people’s poor choices.
My favorite line from the ads:
It’s made from corn.”
So is ethanol fuel. That doesn’t mean it’s “natural”, or as safe to consume as corn. Both are the result of manipulating the chemistry of cornstarch into glucose, and from that point you are a couple steps away from making either HFCS or ethanol fuel.
By saying “It’s made from corn”, they are absolutely implying that HFCS is natural.
I won’t go into it much here, but “natural” means nothing. If by “natural”, someone means that it is made from a plant, or from a substance or organism that mother Earth provides for us, then everything is natural. Everything around you at all times is made from “natural” ingredients, but that doesn’t always mean that the result is natural.
Let me be clear that I am not saying that HFCS is harmful because it is created using chemistry. By that same argument, pure water can be made using hydrogen and oxygen through chemistry. I am just trying to point out that the Corn Refiners Association’s argument is BUNK!
THE REASON PEOPLE SAY IT IS BAD…
…and what our retarded consumer’s from the commercials above failed to know, is that it is NOT the same as plain old sugar. Otherwise known as sucrose.
Now, pay attention class:
Sucrose is made of 50% fructose, and 50% glucose, and together they form a single molecule.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is generally made of 55% fructose, and 45% glucose, and they form separate molecules.
The fact that HFCS is composed of separate molecules linked together, rather than a single molecule, is significant because of the way the body handles it. Sucrose goes through a longer, more complex process of breaking down before it reaches the liver. The separate fructose in HFCS seems to bypass that complex breakdown and goes straight to the liver.
There in the liver, the higher levels of fructose that took the expressway actually damage your metabolism! High levels of fructose in the liver causes an increase in the enzyme PDH. Different levels of PDH tell cells whether they should burn sugar or burn fat. The more PDH present on the cell surface, the more the cell will tend to burn sugar instead of fat.
This can lead to:
- increased fatty acids
- increased LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)
- increased triglycerides (which induces visceral fat and clogged arteries)
- decreased glucose tolerance, and
- too much insulin in the blood (which can both lead to type 2 diabetes)
Some argue that because sucrose is broken down inside the body (due to it’s acidic environment) into it’s components fructose and glucose, that sucrose ultimately has the same effect on the liver. This idea seems to remain debated upon. The fact remains, however, that due to HFCS’s higher levels of fructose, it’s faster delivery to the liver, and it’s higher prevalence in foods, there is more than likely something significant going on here.
Going back to the “natural” argument… Sucrose is naturally found in plants. The manner in which the fructose and glucose in HFCS are seperate, yet together, is NOT found in nature.
Let’s assume that HFCS is not any more harmful than regular table sugar, and has the same effect on your body.
Because HFCS is so inexpensive, compared to sugar, items such as soda and “fruit juice” (containing less than 10% juice), are MUCH cheaper. Since that Big Gulp you pick up at the Kwik-E-Mart is only a few cents more than the regular size, you go ahead and get the half gallon of empty liquid calories.
The countless other processed foods that contain it can be super-sized cheaply. Consumers think they are getting a better deal, but what they’re really getting is fatter.
My second favorite line from the ads:
It’s fine in moderation!”
YES! We know how I feel about that word! “Moderation” is an extremely vague term, and they conveniently neglect to reveal any negative effects if you happen to consume more than a “moderate” amount. What does it even mean? Moderate – compared to a lot? How much is a lot?
How are people supposed to follow an idea of moderation, when HFCS hides in SO MANY food products?
- salad dressing
- fruit “juice”
- baby foods
- cereal bars
- pop tarts
- granola bars
- breads (even some 100% whole grain breads)
- BBQ sauce
- cream cheese
- BK Apple Fries caramel sauce
- canned goods
- ice cream
- tomato sauce
- apple sauce
- canned fruit
- cough syrup medicine
- shake -n- bake
- almost all frozen dinners or prepared foods
Soda companies are the biggest con artists in the world.
Soda remains one of the most commercialized, egregious examples of charging people lots of money for something that isn’t even good for them.
Just think about what they are selling us! They make insane profits (in the billions) selling us sugary, flavored water. Isn’t it amazing? As cheap as soda is, we’re still getting ripped off. What’s strange is, Coke and Pepsi products sold in most other countries are made with sugar, not HFCS.
In the European Union, HFCS is highly regulated, compared to the U.S. They mostly get their sugar from beets, which is what used to be used in the U.S., along with sugar cane. The reason for this is to protect the farmers, and to not drive up the price of sugar. Unfortunately, the U.S. government handled the invention of HFCS a little differently. Tariffs were imposed in 1982 on imported sugar to protect the corn farmers. Corn was one of the biggest crops in the U.S., and also had the best funded lobbyists. Americans pay a much higher price for sugar as a result. Coke and Pepsi quickly switched to HFCS in 1984 to keep their profits high.
MANY other food producers followed. Calorie dense convenience foods became more and more prevalent, and much more affordable.
Have you ever heard of people from other countries coming to the U.S. and commenting that all foods taste sweet? I have. HFCS is in foods that normally wouldn’t even contain sugar. This is because of its preservative and consistency enhancing qualities.
The HFCS Facts website (paid for by the Corn Refiners Association, that happened to pay for those commercials as well) lists some benefits:
- Flavor Enhancement
- Soft Texture
Notice NONE of these are for your nutritional benefit. While a lot of them may help to bring production and transportation costs down – which equals a lower grocery bill for the consumer (and for the manufacturer) – none of the benefits have anything to do with health.
A lot of the products that contain HFCS have only been invented in the past few decades since it has overtaken regular sugar as a sweetener. Most of these are things we don’t need to eat in the first place.
Let’s say that given the information, you believe that HFCS has no ill effects, and is the same as sugar. That’s fine. But check out the list of foods that contain it.
Are any of them fresh fruit?
Are any of them fresh vegetables?
Are any of them whole foods?
No. They are all processed, packed with preservatives, and probably a red flag that you should maybe reconsider the food choice you are about to make.
There are alternatives. There are other choices.