High fructose corn syrup ads

So, lately there have been ads by the Corn Refiners Corporation that usually involve two people : one is about to eat something sugary and the other admonishes them for considering eating something with high fructose corn syrup in it, then the other asks why that would be a bad thing, only to have the one doing the admonishing have no facts to back up their previous statement. They then go on to mention how it’s okay in moderation and people shouldn’t be so uptight about it, at which point the both of them tend to go off and enjoy the sugary treat together.

This leads me to wonder: what is bad about high-fructose corn syrup? Specifically, from people who might be able to give me something other than “…uh…” (which is all we got from the commercial; thanks Corn Refiners Corporation), what’s up with it?


High fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose, 45% glucose. Cane sugar is made of sucrose, which is a fructose & glucose molecule weakly bonded together. Breaking down sucrose into glucose & fructose is the first thing the body does to digest it. Also, acidic enviroments ( like carbonated beverages) will break apart some of the sucrose in them into glucose and fructose.

There really isn’t any good evidence that HFC syrup is any worse than regular sugar. Wiki Link About the worst that can be said about it, is since it is cheaper in the US than cane sugars, it encourages more consumption.

Notice the ad says it is not bad “when used in moderation”, yet doesn’t mention that it is used in just about all packaged foods, even things you would not expect to have a sweetener; low fat salad dressing, barbecue sauce, hot dog buns. It is everywhere, so the only way to use it in moderation is to use the kind of vigilance the ad is mocking.

Yes. Now people go to the 7-11 and get a 48 ounce Coke for breakfast.

It has been pointed out that the beginning of the steep rise in diabetes also coincides with the introduction of high fructose corn syrup in U.S. processed foods. Whether there is any causation has yet to be shown.

I can’t find a history of obesity in other countries, but here you can see that obesity is a problem in nations that I don’t think are using HFCS in everything. It’s true that the US is the worst in this regard, but we are also one of the few nations where people will drive two blocks and circle the parking lot to find the closest spot.

This was my first thought about the ads. It’s nearly impossible to get the stuff in moderation because it’s hidden in EVERYTHING. Even my 100 calorie, low fat yogurts have hfcs as the second or third ingredient. How did they even get it in there without jacking up the calorie count? I eat at LEAST one a day and usually two.

My dad’s a farmer so he’d kill me if he knew I was dissing the stuff, but still…

Also, I’m curious about where they’re running these ads. They seemed to pop up exactly when we moved from Boston to Eastern Iowa. Is this coincidence or are they bombarding farm areas or the Midwest with these ads?

For me, the worst example of the unnecessary adding of this stuff was in a can of almonds. Nowhere did it indicate that these were anything but plain nuts, but when I ate the first one I thought “WTF is wrong with these?” The label showed HFCS used as a coating.

If your yogurt is only 100 calories, you can rest assured that they’re not heaping in HFCS by the truckload. Would you be so concerned about it if it were sweetened with cane sugar instead?

On the other hand, if you’re knocking back a dozen cans of Coke a day, you have something to worry about. But not because Coke has HFCS, because consuming any kind of sugars in that quantity is unhealthy and will turn you into a Lardy McFatPants.

I wasn’t really concerned about it at all. I was just using it as an example of where they sneak the stuff in without anyone considering it most of the time. Yes, I’m equally worried about all forms of sugar, since they can make me sick. I even have to be careful about how much fruit I consume. But since I have no problem with my yogurt I’m not really worried about it.

Well, it was mentioned that’s in the low-fat yogurt (though I suspect they’re shoveling it into the higher-fat stuff too, since it’s cheap), so there’s not a whole lot left to provide more calories. (Plus yogurt sizes are getting tiny anyway.) In fact, low-fat foods are a prime place to find HFCS since typically a lot of sweetener and/or salt is used for flavor, when the fat is removed, as fat will provide an appealing mouthfeel as well as be excellent at conveying flavors from the food. You have to do something to these processed foods to make them still appealing when you try to convince people they’re “healthy” because of something else done to the food.

Because of all the additives, I’ve gone back to making my own yogurt. I first started with a live yogurt culture from a store-bought yogurt, and from then have been making my own. Plus this way I can make a fruit yogurt at home without either extra added sugar or gelatin (which vegetarians typically don’t want to consume).

I’m seeing “condensed, dehydrated cane juice” listed as a sweetener more and more these days… I think the American public is gullible enough to think that it’s a healthier alternative to sugar, just like HFC, because it’s juice… only concentrated, so it’s better.

I actually had somebody tell me something didn’t have sugar in it once, and the first five ingredients listed things that ended in “ose”–glucose, maltose, HFC… but no sugar… being a diabetic, this is important to me, so I made sure to mock my friend.

The issue I have with HFCS is that it’s just as bad for you as sugar, but it doesn’t taste as good. But it’s cheaper, so every commercial food product switched to it.

That said, I think the ads are pretty effective. There is actually nothing horribly wrong with eating a little HFCS, and it has a very bad image right now.

I first heard of the evils of “the Devil’s candy” from this article from Men’s Health magazine. I cannot say how fair or accurate it is.

I know a lot of diabetics have been warned to avoid HFCS because it supposedly spikes your blood sugar more than other sugars do. I am avoiding it along with other sugars, but dammit, why does BREAD need any kind of sweetener at all? It’s so hard to avoid, unless you’re making your own goods!

In many kinds of bread, a tiny bit of sugar is used to feed the yeast. However, if sugar isn’t used, the bread just takes longer to rise and more yeast might be used. That’s no reason at all to use HFCS.

Well, yeast feeds nicely on sugar, so most bread recipes call for a little to speed the rising process along. It isn’t strictly necessary, and certainly not in the quantities you find in a lot of packaged breads, but it is a standard ingredient in traditional bread.

It actually may be in response to the findings of this recent study, which found that high amounts of fructose can induce leptin-resistance, which then may lead to obesity. Note the commercials ephasize the phrase “in moderation”.

Eh. Carbs is carbs; doesn’t matter whether it’s sugar or wheat. I take the same amount of insulin per gram of carbohydrate regardless of what the carb is. The real question is what else am I getting with my 30 grams of carbs? If it’s HFC, artificial sweetener, artificial flavor, citric acid, and carnauba wax (aka five or six pieces of candy), no, thanks. If it’s meat, vegetables, fiber (aka a sandwich), I’m good.

The amount of HFC in bread to get the yeast to do its thing should be a fairly small percentage of total carbs. 15-20 grams per slice should be fairly sugar-free.

Far from “emphasizing” the phrase “in moderation”, the actors say it very quickly and almost under the breath, hoping you won’t hear it. They only put that in there cuz their lawyers made them.

Check out the film, King Corn. It examines modern farming practices and policies and how they have affected the products we consume. The take away message for me was, through technology and legislation we’re able to produce extremely affordable foods, but these products may have become too cheap.
From the website…


IIRC there was a scene where they interviewed some prof who was explaining that HFCS was digested differently than table sugar and could cause problems. I can’t remember his exact claim but it was pretty bold and he didn’t back it up with any data. Still the film is an interesting look at where a lot of our food comes from and why HFCS is such a common ingredient.