Monday, September 15, 2008

Wanna Know the Not-So-Sweet Surprise?

Have you seen the ads promoting—of all things—high fructose corn syrup? At first, I found it intensely amusing that the makers of this prolific "poison" have the need to defend their product as a sweet surprise. And then I got upset.

In the commercials I’ve seen, the actors who question the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are portrayed as denser than all those arteries clogged by years of eating processed “foods” high in HFCS. When asked why HFCS is bad, these paid actors couldn't come up with one single reason. Well, here are just three I can quickly come up with:

1. Obesity and Type-2 Diabetes (just a few of the reasons current generations aren’t expected to live as long as their parents)

2. Focus on Quantity Not Quality (“foods” high in HFCS—and there are many, from soda to crackers—are cheap because this main ingredient has no nutritional value)

3. Environmental Destruction (corn is not only one of the most genetically modified crops, but it uses something like 162 million pounds of chemical pesticides and produces early 49 billion pounds of greenhouse gasses per year)

Please don’t be brain- and belly-washed! Look at labels and, whenever possible, avoid high fructose corn syrup. HFCS helps processed “foods” have a longer shelf life (as opposed to eating fresh, organic, and local fruits and vegetables which are full of nutrients our bodies crave). I just read that a woman who promotes healthy eating travels the country with a fast food hamburger she bought two years ago . . . as she unwraps it, each audience gasps at the still-very-recognizable bun and burger. Appetizing?

It’s a fact that many overweight and obese people are actually malnourished. To me, the not-so-sweet surprise is that HFCS is partly to blame. When cheap, calorie-rich substitutes routinely pass as food, there’s a problem. Luckily, we have many, many alternatives.

By the way, I wrote to the folks at the Corn Refiners Association but—sweet surprise—they haven’t responded!

Question of the blog: Do you currently check labels for high fructose corn syrup?

No comments: