Okay.,.gimme the facts on High Fructose Corn Syrup

There are ads running right now that HFCS is not the horrible bugaboo it’s made out to be, and this article implies its proliferation might have something to do with gov’t regulation, with corn farmers getting subsidies and sugar growers having to pay tariffs.

I haven’t gone out of my way to avoid HFCS, but from what I understand, it’s everywhere and there’s no easy way to avoid it. There’s also some info that it metabolizes in the body differently.

Will HFCS become the new trans-fat?

It’s already fairly stigmatized (not as bad as trans-fats) and its prevalence in sodas, etc. is blamed for kids’ being fat. Of course, I’m not sure sucrose-based Cokes being placed in schools or promoted in giant cups would have worked out much better . . .

Yes, it is in almost everything. It’s rampant even in things that you would think would/should be savory/tangy/spicy (salad dressing, barbecue sauce, etc.). Mind you, it’s long been suspected that the food industry has skewed people toward a sweet tooth, in part because it’s easier to provoke a sugar rush on the taste buds than to invest more in higher quality ingredients.

Everything shady you’ve heard about the Corn State lobbyists/subsidies, the role of Midwestern Senators in encouraging them, and the imported-sugar duties passed for the Fanjul family, could probably be assumed to be largely true.

Jury’s out for me on the metabolic issue. More broadly, I have seen references to research that says any sweetener (even zero calorie stuff) provokes an adverse insulin response.

Which is why the “And it’s fine when taken in moderation!” in those damn ads makes me want to throw the remote through the television.

The corn state lobbyists make sense, as do legislators from Iowa Nebraska et al, but the Fanjul family?

How are the corn lobbyists more powerful than the sugar lobbyists? Does it have something to do with ethanol?

Exactly. Without the vigilance the ads are mocking, moderation is impossible.

Watch King Corn on video for an interesting treatment of this topic. I won’t vouch for its accuracy, though.

It’s available on Netflix’s watch now.

Nothing to do ith ethanol… well, not much anyway.

The (Agri)Cultural Contradictions of Obesity

At the least, sugar is made from different crops (typically, sugar cane and sugar beets) which have different regional interests/issues.

Sure, you can grow corn a lot of places, but most of the industrial production is centered in the midwest.

And they point is- HFCS has a very low satiety rating, wich means it isnt “taken in moderation”. Thus rather than 12oz bottle we have 64oz super-duper big gulps.

HFCS isnt really all that bad for you “in moderation”, it is just that they want and encourage you to consume hwaaaaay too fucking much.

I think “in moderation” can be misleading, since they don’t tell you what a “moderate” amount is. Everything is fine in moderation, but there’s a difference in moderation levels between water (a gallon a day, max) and cocaine (not even a little bit.)

Processed foods are already a minefield, particularly for diabetics. Free sugars like HFCS are not processed by your body the same way that complex carbs are. This is because free sugars are not common in nature. When you consume free sugars, your body sees it as a much larger meal (because of the blood sugar spike), sort of like consuming an entire cow instead of a steak. When that signal is received, your system floods your body with digestive chemicals, insulin, and other dangerous elements to try to cope with what it sees as a huge feast. The result is that the food is hyper-absorbed and stored as fat. Lastly, now your body is flooded with excess insulin, which triggers the hunger reflex again soon after your meal.

This is the real danger of HFCS, and it’s in nearly everything produced in this country. How much is “moderation”? When you’re eating a burger, fries and a large soda (which your body already views as a 10,000 calorie meal), do we really need to add to the problem with HFCS?

The corn lobbyists are more powerful than the sugar lobby because corn is grown in many/most U.S. states, and extensively grown in a half-dozen Midwestern states who represent 12 of th 100 Senators (and one of those states holds the first Presidential caucus). On the other hand, the overall sugar market from U.S. producers is significantly smaller than that for corn, and half of it’s grown in one state.

The Fanjuls and a couple of other families, however, did a good job of lobbying, taking advantage of anti-Castro Cold War politics, and basically asking to be thrown a mini-subsidiy of their own so as to corner the smaller sugar market. Their earlier scheming may well have set the stage for the HFCS onslaught – by artificially inflating the price of sugar in the U.S. (and given that U.S. producers could never meet all the need for sweetener using sucrose), they made HFCS (especially subsidized corn-based HFCS) economically more competitive.

Check out: http://forests.org/archive/america/deelsour.htm for a fairly critical view of the sugar industry.

That is so true! Even meats are tainted. I’ve been a close reader of labels since I was diagnosed with diabetes in March 2007. I know to stay away from sweet things, but it’s downright shocking how hard it is to find savory food that doesn’t have HFCS or some other kind of sugar. Even if a food is misleadingly marked as 0 carbohydrates, a reading of the ingredients will reveal all kinds of crap that I have to stay away from. I have to buy specific brands of bacon and sausage, for instance, that don’t have any sort of sugar. I think I’m singlehandedly keeping Bob Evans sausage and Fud bacon in business.

What drives me crazy is that I’ll find something I can eat that has no sugar that then disappears. For instance, a no-sugar brand (I forget the name) of chicken sausage with Feta cheese and spinach that I used to buy at Costco, got positively hooked on it, is no longer carried. Same with a brand of chicken sausage with garlic and herbs. And a brand of bratwurst I bought at Dominicks (a local chain) hasn’t been in stock the last several times I stopped to look. There are tons of brands of pork sausage, chicken sausage, bacon, and bratwurst (with cheese! with beer! with other crap!) out there, but just try finding one without any sort of sugar/corn syrup on a consistent basis. Good luck. It’s infuriating.

I hate the corn and sugar industries.

This book talks about HFCS and how it got into so many foods: Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World (2004): http://books.google.com/books?id=0pvei-5tJoEC&client=firefox-a

Raw sugar, or sucrose, is a combination of two molecules – glucose and fructose – held together by a weak chemical bond. The human body can’t absorb sucrose directly, until it’s broken down into its two key molecules by the enzyme sucrase in the stomach and upper intestine. (People who lack sucrase have all sorts of problems when they consume raw sugar.) HFCS is already broken down into glucose (45%) and fructose (55%) so while it tastes nearly identical to raw sugar, there is no enzymatic process to regulate its absorbtion. This is what makes it potentially dangerous, and can cause Type II Diabetes.

HFCS does have its advantages, primarily because it’s a liquid, which makes it easier to store and transport. Corn is also much cheaper than raw sugar. None of these advantages are health-related, however.

Corn is produced in much greater abundance than sugar cane or sugar beets in the USA, so the Corn Industry naturally has much greater lobbying power. There’s not enough sugar produced in this country to completely switch over 100% to sugar-based ethanol production, so we would have to import sugar cane from places like Brazil (which at least is better than importing oil from places like Saudi Arabia who secretly hate us and fund terrorism, but that’s a different topic.)

The corn lobby and the politicians who pander to it annoy me so much I won’t even use corn or canola oils. While peanut oil is worse for me, I’ll take the fat hit in order not to support corn growers.

No canola oils? While I can understand your reasons for not buying corn oil, isn’t canola an entirely different plant? Wouldn’t buying it help you “stick it to the man” of the corn lobby?

The biggest problem with HFCS is just that it’s cheap. If you made ketchup or cola or whatever with sucrose instead of HFCS, it’d be nearly as bad for you, but the food companies wouldn’t do that, or if they did, people wouldn’t buy it as much, because sucrose is significantly more expensive. But once sugar became cheap, in the form of HFCS, it became economical to put it in everything, and to buy lots of it, with the result that we’re getting lots more sugar now than we used to.

Incidentally, many of the opponents of corn syrup recommend honey instead as an “all-natural” sweetener, but aside from a few trace impurities that give it its recognizable flavor, honey is basically the same thing as HFCS: A thick solution of roughly equal amounts of glucose and fructose. The only virtue of honey over HFCS is that due both to its higher cost and its subtle other flavors, you’re more likely to use it in moderation.

One of the often cited peices of evidence for the evils of HFCS is the chronelogical correlation between the use of HFCS and obesity. What they fail to mention is that many other things correlate with increase in obesity. Things that correlate with obesity include the rise of the personal computer and cable television. I would also guess that more jobs are sedentary in nature, portion sizes have increased, more people drive to work and fewer people actively take up physical activity. I would be interested to find out what the obesity rate in similar culture environments is that haven’t gone to HFCS is. I don’t know if there is any such country around, but I think they haven’t gone to HFCS in England. I also think people are generally less linked to their television there.

Calorically, HFCS is the same as sucrose, but I have no idea if there is a satiety or absorption difference. There could be a minor issue. It certainly isn’t solely responsible for American obesity.

Trans-fats are a different issue entirely. Unlike HFCS, trans-fats are entirely unatural. Your body is not at all designed to deal with them. They have zero effect on the flavor of anything. All fats do is distribute the flavor nicely and any fat with a similar melting point will do exactly the same thing. They may help preserve foods since they don’t oxidize as easily. They are also extremely good at clogging your arteries.

You’re correct. Canola is rapeseed oil. I won’t contribute to the brutalization of our wimmens!

Maybe he is confusing canola with Mazola[sup]®[/sup] oil, made from corn, what my people call maize.

*No, I am not really a Native American. *.