Playing Food Detective: High Fructose Corn Syrup

Friday, August 29, 2008

Being a food detective is hard work.

In my quest to learn about high fructose corn syrup and selflessly pass this information along to you, I have come to two conclusions: 1) High fructose corn syrup is not really the healthiest sweetening option; and, 2) science is unrelievedly dull.

In my tortured readings, I learned more than I really wanted to know about all manner of complicated processes and genetic modifications and, of course, the obligatory rat experiments. I suffered through innumerable references to fructose and glucose and sucrose. And I continued to read until, frankly, I thought my brain was going to explode.

But you, my friend, don’t have to hurt yourself to understand high fructose corn syrup. These are the basic facts: High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener and a preservative. It is not a natural food. It is cheaper than sugar for the manufacturer to produce and it extends the shelf life of processed foods. So, obviously, manufacturers love it. Nutritionists, not so much.

There are those who claim it is not the high fructose corn syrup itself causing this country’s obesity epidemic so much as it is the overconsumption of the foods that contain it. If, on a daily basis, you were to drink 12 cans of a soda which contained sugar produced from cane or beets, your body would receive the exact same negative effects as it would from drinking 12 cans of a soda containing high fructose corn syrup. The poor little diabetic rats in the lab experiments have proven this.

So what this all comes down to, much like everything else that’s “bad for you”, is moderation, right? Be conscious of it, because, believe me, it’s in just about everything, limit it as you would any other sugar, and don’t make a pig of yourself.

There. I believe I have just solved the nation’s obesity problem. You’re welcome.