Attack of the Killer Corn!
I think we have all seen this ad:
The gist of this $25 million PR campaign by the Corn Refiners Association is that since the public doesn’t know the specific dangers of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) then there must not be any. The commercial even goes so far as to call HFCS natural. Syrup is a processed food therefore by definition can not be natural.
The ad also states that it is no worse than sugar. No worse than sugar? First off sugar is pretty bad. Secondly it is far worse than sugar.
The amount of research that proves HFCS is harmful to humans can be measured in volumes. The data reveals that this unnatural, processed food-product causes and/or contributes to several serious diseases. Let’s examine some of the evidence.
In a recent chemical analysis of eleven carbonated soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), researchers from Rutgers University found very high levels of reactive carbonyls.
Reactive carbonyls, which have been linked to tissue damage and complications of diabetes, are elevated in the blood of people with diabetes. A single can of soda, however, has five times that concentration of reactive carbonyls. Old-fashioned table sugar, on the other hand, has no reactive carbonyls.
From Health Mad:
Since HFCS’s widespread introduction in the 1980’s North American obesity rates have skyrocketed. Obesity has been linked to many heath issues including heart disease and many forms of cancer. When HFCS is ingested, it travels straight to the liver which turns the sugary liquid into fat, and unlike other carbohydrates HFCS does not cause the pancreas to produce insulin; which acts as a hunger quenching signal to the brain. So we get stuck in a vicious cycle, eating food that gets immediately stored as fat and never feeling full.
Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist & author of Lick the Sugar Habit:
Consumption of fructose causes a significant increase in the concentration of uric acid; after ingestion of glucose, no significant change occurs. An increase in uric acid can be an indicator of heart disease. Furthermore, fructose ingestion in humans results in increases in blood lactic acid, especially in patients with preexisting acidotic conditions such as diabetes, postoperative stress or uremia. Extreme elevations cause metabolic acidosis and can result in death.
From Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy:
Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply
The Corn Refiners Association bills itself as a national trade association representing the corn milling industry but being based in Washington DC (where the are no mills) it is clear that what they are is a lobbyist group. They do not represent farmers, millers or even unions as their name suggests. They represent large agri-business corporations. According to their own web site they lobby on behalf of:
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) – ADM has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of ADM’s annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM’s corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30. ADM is a partner of Monsanto.
Cargill, Incorporated – Cargill has recalled more than 20 million pounds of beef and poultry products tainted with E. coli and Listeria bacteria, respectively since 2000. This recalled meat has been linked to foodborne illness outbreaks, miscarriages, and several deaths. Cargill is a partner of Monsanto.
The list goes on – Corn Products International, Penford Products Co., and Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas, Inc. All huge agri-businesses with ties to Monsanto. Kind of blows that wholesome farmland image the Corn Refiners Association tries to portray.