Monday, September 21, 2009

Battle Royale: High Fructose Corn Syrup Versus Sugar

Which is better? High fructose corn syrup or sugar – or are they “compositionally equivalent”?

The advertisements lauding the quality of high fructose corn syrup do appear to be a bit biased, as if somehow the Corn Refiners Association (who funds THESE ADS) might have something to gain. They invoke a cautious curiosity as political ad campaigns do – one might expect a stalk to appear at the end and declare, “I am a corn cob, and I approved this message.” The goofy, Kerri Kenney look-a-like in the commercial above resonates with the fool in all of us. “How could I have been so stupid?” We all strive to be the enlightened, juice-pouring power Mom who scoffs in the face of whiny syrup haters. Who wouldn’t want to be more like her?

The folks at are resolute to repudiate the “myths” prevalent in today’s increasingly label-aware society. A recent print ad reenacts an exchange between two women. One says something like, “My hairdresser says corn syrup is bad for you.” The other replies, “Wow, your hairdresser is a doctor?”

The smarmy, don’t-be-a-parrot tone beckons one to simply iterate the Corn Refiners Association’s (CRA) greed-fueled lies instead. The CRA boldly states that HFCS is “fine in moderation…just like sugar”. A can of soda might contain about 13 teaspoons of HFCS. Does that reflect moderation, or excess? The FDA recommends a limit of 10 teaspoons of sugar per day. One has to wonder how many teaspoons are in the unlabeled juice of the commercial above? It looks like the ones that sell for about $1.19 per gallon, and are so sweet it will make your lips pucker.

All of this excess corn ingestion makes one feel like the “terrorists win”. You may recall the old warning that stated if you buy gasoline or vote a Muslim into political office, the terrorists win. Well who wins when giant corporations control its nation’s bellies and health?

Right, so perhaps the switch should be made back to regular old white sugar. It’s slightly humorous how refined sugar has become the good guy. Looking at it from a vegetarian or vegan standpoint, it should be known that some refined sugar processing plants use bone char, or charred animal bones, to filter out such nasty impurities in sugar like its…well, color. Just like many other gifts of Mother Nature, man has been able to destroy and mutilate sugar from its beautiful and healthy beginnings as sugar cane.

So the dilemma remains. Whichever route one decides to take, these four points might be a good start:

1. Eliminate soda, including artificially sweetened colas.

2. Be aware of the HFCS contents in the foods you are eating. All growth begins with awareness, and corporations will blind you with science. Paid science, so to speak.

3. Begin to make little changes. Try agave nectar, a honey-like sweetener imported from Mexico’s agave plants. The agave is a plant that looks like a cactus, but is actually related to the lily family.

4. Pay no attention to women pouring juice at parties. It might just be Kool-Aid.

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