Over the last few days, I’ve noticed more and more of these ads from the “Corn Refiners Association” (CRA) alleging that high fructose corn syrup, when eaten in moderation, is no worse for you than sugar. It made me start examining my own assumed belief that high fructose corn syrup is bad.
High fructose corn syrup is bad . . . I’m not sure why but that’s what I’ve been told by the health food stores and health magazines and Oprah, too.
But in the end, it appears that the CRA is using a deflective argument tactic. In a vacuum, the difference between CRA and sugar is probably nothing extremely significant, as the ads suggest. However, we don’t live in a vacuum of “high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar,” and the CRA ads are making it seem like we do.
What our diets need less of is highly processed foods, most of which have low nutritional value. These foods are often found in the center of our grocery stores. And, you got it, the majority of the foods found in the center of our grocery stores contain high fructose corn syrup or other added sweeteners, because of their ability to ‘stay fresher’ on food aisles for months on end.
In that regard, any discussion about high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar should not center on the merits of their chemical composition, but rather how sweeteners (whether sugar or high fructose corn syrup) have pervaded many of our food products and has caused an obesity epidemic because, in addition to lack of exercise, people are eating empty calories. Not surprisingly, the processed food people eat nowadays doesn’t provide the proper energy blocks for people to do exercise, and a tragic cycle of getting fat without exercising continues. If you’re in New York City, visit any subway car and you’ll see what I mean.
The issue of high fructose corn syrup vs. sugar is a non-issue that obfuscates the real problem. The real problem is that the use of any of these sweeteners is a symptom of our food policy that has moved away from affordable organic and natural foods to highly processed food products with limited nutritional value.