High Fructose Corn Syrup: The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

I have mentioned several times on this website as well as my own, that my green living journey began with a better nutrition journey. In my mind now, these two go hand in hand. You simply cannot live a green lifestyle and put bad foods into your body. Once you become conscientious about what you do to the environment, you also begin to be conscientious about what goes in your own personal environment – the body. You start to read more about foods, read labels, cook with fresher ingredients and shop smarter. However, just because something is labeled “natural” does not mean chemically it is good for you.

Several commercial “green” campaigns have become very deceptive. It seems that advertisers for companies know we will make our decisions to buy their products based on emotion, morality and their assumption that we are ignorant to the true facts. And for the most part, many of us are ignorant until we are educated. It’s impossible to know what’s true based upon what we see on T.V. To purchase something because the commercial was cool or presented an idea that seemed logical is ignorant.

I am taking aim, in this article, at the Corn Refiner’s Association. They have sent out a commercial that not only makes conscientious mothers look like idiots, but actually PROMOTES the use of products containing high fructose corn syrup. The reason? High Fructose Corn Syrup is “natural” and therefore, the conscientious mother is stupid for not wanting her kids to drink the fruity HFCS sweetened beverage the other mom is serving. It’s a very deceptive ad. It’s a dangerous ad campaign.

Here are the facts:

  1. HFCS is made with natural ingredients – corn! But chemically, this man-made processed sweetener performs differently in the human body. There are many names for the different sugars, one being fructose. Two others are sucrose and dextrose. Sucrose is white table sugar. Of the three sugars I’ve just mentioned, fructose behaves quite differently in the human body. Sucrose and dextrose are broken down in our bodies way before they even reach the liver. Fructose arrives at the liver nearly completely unbroken down. Fructose is then used to help produce triglycerides which carry cholesterol throughout the body. An increase in blood cholesterol can cause heart disease and can collect in the arteries to form blockages.
  2. High fructose corn syrup is sweeter than table sugar and cheaper to produce which brings down the cost of the foods we consume. Well sure! But the difference between sucrose and fructose is that sucrose, when consumed in large quantities causes the brain to shut down appetite when it senses satiety. Satiety is another word for feeling full. The brain does not recognize fructose satiety and therefore humans keep consuming foods that contain HFCS without feeling full and knowing when to stop. This causes the obesity epidemic in our country and many people have never learned moderation and self control. The satiety mechanism in our brain is a natural response to eating too much. When our brains do not teach us to stop eating because it doesn’t know it should…well, you get the idea.
  3. HFCS has the same number of calories as table sugar. Our bodies tend to store fat rather than burn it when we eat foods that contain HFCS. Caloric number or not, it’s how the body breaks the sugars down, stores it and uses it. It has been shown in studies that our metabolism “tends toward fat storage when consuming high levels of fructose.” Ever wonder why you have such a hard time getting rid of the fat on certain parts of your body? It could be the food you eat. HFCS is in so many foods, it’s hard to tell sometimes. It’s in bread, cereals, crackers, fast foods, pastas, sodas, ketchup and get this…energy bars! It’s even in some of those so called 100 calorie packs certain food companies are selling to dieters.
  4. HFCS extends the shelf life of foods manufactured and sold in stores. It enhances flavor. That may be. And honestly, I can understand why manufacturers would like their products to have longer shelf lives. Better profits. But when it comes down to it…do you really want to put something in your body that’s been sitting on a shelf for a long time? We all have tried to get away from foods that have preservatives in them because they simply aren’t healthy. This is just another preservative under a pretty name: natural. And let’s talk about flavor enhancing shall we? I have found that in my organic, fresh, all natural lifestyle, foods that are the closest they can be from the earth to my table actually taste better than food that has been processed, sat on a shelf for a long time and been flavor enhanced. Have our taste buds gotten so desensitized that we need HFCS to enhance flavor so it can be once again enjoyed?
  5. And let’s not forget the environmental impact of HFCS. The increased demand for corn based products is taking it’s toll on our earth. Corn is usually not a crop that’s rotated, which means that more pesticides and fertilizers are needed to keep producing corn year after year. Manufacturing HFCS is energy intensive. Nothing organic and natural about that folks.

It’s important to acknowledge here that moderation is key in anything you eat. You don’t have to go home and throw out everything in your cupboards that contain HFCS. But you need to practice moderation, self control and healthy eating. Eat fresher foods. Reach for less packaged and processed foods from the store. Learn to make some foods from scratch. READ LABELS! There are products on the market that do not contain HFCS! Be smart! Don’t be lulled into believing that just because it’s labeled “all natural” or “natural” that it’s good for you. Don’t be duped into thinking that just because the FDA approves it, it must be ok. You have to have an understanding of what these foods can do to your body on a molecular level.

Not sure how to figure that out? Check things out for yourself online. Google or use any other search engine to read up on the good and bad sides of certain ingredients. Go to the library! There are so many ways to educate yourself about the foods you put in your body. I mean seriously….cigarettes are made with some “natural” ingredients (tobacco for one) and we all know what they can do to our bodies!

Come visit Beth at her blog Coming Up for Air where she’s constantly getting mad at commercials, but mostly she organic gardens, grows her urban homestead and is canning up a storm!

This is an original 5 MInutes for Going Green post

51 Responses to High Fructose Corn Syrup: The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
  1. Jessica (Green Mamma)
    September 12, 2008 | 7:05 am

    Thank you for this post! I saw the “high fructose corn syrup” is natural ad yesterday and could not believe what I was seeing. Thank you for explaining the difference between how fructose and sucrose behave in the body. I still cannot believe the nerve of the Corn Refiner’s Association. Phew! Well, hopefully, those conscientious moms and dads out there will continue to educate themselves and ignore bunk ad info.

  2. Mimi
    September 12, 2008 | 7:59 am

    My hubby and I saw this ad about a week ago and we were just appalled. He just said, “turn off the TV before the stupid spreads.” The worst is there are so many people that are going to buy into that.

  3. Adventures In Babywearing
    September 12, 2008 | 8:50 am

    When I first saw the commercial I thought it had to be a joke! Oh my. Then it got me really mad. I am hoping that everyone does their research and doesn’t take ANY of this campaign seriously- and hopefully it will influence others to get more informed about the REAL facts!~


  4. Renee
    September 12, 2008 | 9:10 am

    wow I didn”t know about this thanks for sharing!!!! It\s amazing to see how much consumers are to be allert not to be taken advantage of!!!!

    We have to go back to the basic eat what comes from our garden and kill our own animals to be sure of what happen ands where our goes LOL

  5. Dawn
    September 12, 2008 | 10:34 am

    I hate those commercials…my DH even asked…why is it bad for us? I just looked at him and said, cause our bodies don’t like it…that’s why!! LOL…I think that big companies like to make it seem that we are all stupid, or petty or paranoid…shame on them.

  6. Rebekah Menter
    September 12, 2008 | 11:13 am

    In the debate over high-fructose corn syrup, one thing many people don’t know is that table sugar (sucrose) contains the exact same products as high-fructose corn syrup in the exact same ratios. Sucrose is a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule bound together. High-fructose corn syrup is a 50-50 blend of free glucose and fructose molecules. The only difference between them is that sucrose has to be partially digested (in the small intestine) before it is absorbed into the bloodstream.

    The body can’t tell the difference between sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup outside of the gut. The bottom line is, at least as far as nutrition is concerned, it doesn’t matter where you’re getting it: sugar is sugar.

    So if you’re looking at things from a nutritional perspective, don’t make high-fructose corn syrup out to be a bad guy. You’d be a lot safer to limit ALL sugar consumption, regardless of the source (corn, sugar cane, sugar beet, whatever).

    **Rebekah Menter has a BS in Dietetics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is currently studying for her MS and her RD from the same institution.**

  7. GreenMe
    September 12, 2008 | 11:27 am

    Thank you for this post. I have not seen the commercial, but that is outrageous. Prior to having my son I was studying nutrition and in a bio energetics (how the body uses food for energy) class my prof went over the specifics of how HFCS is digested by the body, and as you mention above it is very very unhealthy! And, in initial studies there does appear to be a link between consuming HFCS and high BAD cholesterol (triglycerides). In other words, consuming HFCS can result in obesity and bad cholesterol, but you won’t be full!

    Not to mention that if you drink real fruit juice you get some extra nutrition in the form of antioxidants and maybe naturally occurring vitamin C or other vitamins. Whereas HFCS sweetened drinks provide ZERO nutritional value other than calories!

    In my book hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup are in the same camp — natural ingredients chemically altered my humans to make cheap food that lasts forever, but provides very very bad nutrition.

    P.s. I stumbled this article and I highly advise any and everyone else who reads it to bookmark it through their favorite site! This is a public health issue!

  8. marie
    September 12, 2008 | 11:29 am

    I saw these ads and my jaw dropped! I was amazed! But at the same time it means companies are feeling the hit of people not wanting HFCS in everything…otherwise why would they waste their money trying to promote it!!

  9. Beth (Coming Up For Air)
    September 12, 2008 | 1:36 pm

    Rebekah: I agree with you that all sugar consumption should be in moderation…a fact I did say later in my article. However there is a great difference in how the body metabolizes fructose than glucose. I am not arguing the molecular composition of sucrose against fructose. But the fact still remains that HFCS which contains very high amounts of fructose is in everything and is a HUGE contributor to the obesity problem in our country, contributes to the increased number of diabetics, AND is a major contributor of LDL production in the body.

    All sugars have their issues. I agree with you. A fact which makes it a rarity in our house. But if I had to chose which I would use to feed my family, HFCS will always be the odd man out. Fresh fruits and veggies are always made available and sugary snacks of any kind are extremely limited.

    I respect your degrees, but I too have had college for the same degrees. Isn’t Nebraska corn country by the way? :)

  10. Arianne (To Think Is To Create)
    September 12, 2008 | 4:03 pm

    If you look at it nutritionally, then yo also have to look at how HFCS is chemically altered and made from genetically modified sources.

    If I have a choice of sugars, I’m going to pick the non-clone food, for sure! :)

    Also, it’s just so silly that they say “in moderation it’s fine” as if HFCS isn’t already in EVERYTHING, not just desserts and sweets. Unless you make a concerted effort to avoid it, you will be consuming a way larger amount than “moderate”.

  11. Beth (Coming Up for Air)
    September 12, 2008 | 4:19 pm

    I would have seriously loved to get into the science of all this even deeper in this article but sometimes too much info can end up being just that…too much. I didn’t want lose anyone! But it’s very interesting what happens with it in our bodies. Scary too.

  12. rob
    September 12, 2008 | 4:39 pm

    I want to introduce myself. I am the founder of Kardea Nutrition—and we seek to enable heart health and cholesterol management through natural, scientifically validated, therapeutic nutrition. Among our enabling products are our gourmet nutrition bar. 7g fiber, 7g protein, 1g plant sterols, low saturated fat, only 150 calories—-and these taste great and have great aroma. All four are vegetarian — utilizing no dairy and utlizing lower glycemic agave and brown rice syrup as the primary sweeteners. 2 are vegan (chai spice and banana nut). We would be glad to send you samples for trial.

  13. Mary@SimplyForties
    September 12, 2008 | 8:38 pm

    Excellent post. When I actually paid attention to those commercials I was stunned! Clearly the corn people think we are stupid. I guess when we bought into the whole corn gas being good for the environment campaign, they figured we’d go for anything! I’ve been contemplating writing an article on this issue myself. Now I’ll just reference your excellent article!

  14. Alaina F
    September 13, 2008 | 12:37 pm

    I saw one of those commercials and my jaw literally DROPPED. WTF???

    I liked how the one commercial did point out that “it’s okay in moderation” but that was the only commercial that mentioned in moderation! So how are we to have HFCS in moderation when it is in EVERYTHING!!! So why does bread need to be sweet?? I have found ONE brand of bread at our local grocer that does not mention HFCS being in the ingredients. I’d like to know in today’s society with over half of the population over weight and many obese why they are making commercials and spending so much money in saying that crap is okay. Why not spend the money to make foods NATURAL and healthy. Who needs sweeteners- artificial or not?!

  15. […] Beth from Coming up for Air wrote an crucial guest post on 5 Minutes For Going Green about High Fructose Corn Syrup: The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. […]

  16. […] and sharing more information. And at 5 Minutes for Going Green, Beth writes that HFCS is the “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” and brings up the environmental concerns as […]

  17. Butterfly Mama
    September 16, 2008 | 10:33 pm

    Oh my word I love you!!!! We have been boycotting HFCS for years (about 5) and I am just so aggravated by those ads!!!

    I’m totally linking to this today!


  18. Billie
    September 17, 2008 | 11:31 am

    The number one reason why I started making my own bread was because bread without HFCS was incredibly hard to find and it was EXPENSIVE! My husband also wouldn’t eat whole wheat bread from the store. It was white or nothing! Now I make 50/50 white/whole wheat and even the kids love it.

    But HFCS is in just about everything. I am shocked at what I find it in at times – like ketchup. Say what??? Why does ketchup need to be sweet?

    I also try to cut down on my sugar consumption and for my banana bread and muffins and use about 1/3 to 1/2 of what they normally call for.

    With any luck… with some vigilance… I am down to HFCS in moderation.

  19. Audrae Erickson
    September 18, 2008 | 12:06 am

    High fructose corn syrup, sugar, and several fruit juices are all nutritionally the same.

    High fructose corn syrup has the same number of calories as sugar and is handled similarly by the body.

    HFCS is made from corn, a natural grain product. HFCS contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives and meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) requirements for use of the term “natural.”

    The American Medical Association in June 2008 helped put to rest misunderstandings about this sweetener and obesity, stating that “high fructose corn syrup does not appear to contribute to obesity more than other caloric sweeteners.”

    Consumers can see the latest research and learn more about high fructose corn syrup at http://www.HFCSfacts.com and http://www.SweetSurprise.com.

    Audrae Erickson
    Corn Refiners Association

  20. Victor
    September 18, 2008 | 10:41 am

    Hello Ms. Erickson.

    I appreciate you posting those websites for our research. I particularly love one sentence from SweetSurprise.com:

    High fructose corn syrup promotes freshness, inhibiting microbial spoilage by reducing water activity and extending shelf life through superior moisture control.

    The first thing I think of when I see HFCS on a label is, “OH, this must be fresh!” Nothing quite says “fresh” like an engineered chemical.

    How exactly does “reducing water activity” inhibit microbial spoilage? What exactly is this water activity that is spoken of?

    Microbial spoilage occurs when bacteria and mold feed upon the product in question. It seems rather obvious that if HFCS inhibits microbial spoilage, then those microbes aren’t eating it.

    So, if bacteria won’t even eat your crap, then why would we? After all, they eat real crap.

  21. lolasmom
    September 18, 2008 | 2:38 pm

    Excellent post! I haven’t felt better since I practically gave up HFCS. It’s so important to educate ourselves on the problems with this and other, dare I say it, artificial sweeteners.

    Thanks for all the information!

  22. James M. Rippe, M.D.
    September 19, 2008 | 5:42 pm

    It’s time to stop the hysterical mischaracterizations concerning high fructose corn syrup. Your blog is riddled with factual errors. I would like to correct a few.

    1. I agree with the FDA that high fructose corn syrup is a natural substance.
    2. You state that high fructose corn syrup is sweeter than table sugar. This is incorrect. In fact, they have the same level of sweetness. High fructose corn syrup was developed as an alternative to table sugar and for this reason was made to have the same sweetness.
    3. You state “our bodies tend to store fat rather than burn it when we eat foods that contain HFCS.” This is incorrect.

    Research in my laboratory and in the laboratories of every other researcher who has looked at this issue has shown that by every parameter yet studied in human beings, high fructose corn syrup and table sugar have the same effect on the human body. This is not surprising given that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and table sugar (sucrose) are chemically virtually the same substance. The most common form of HFCS contains 55% fructose, 42% glucose, and 3% other carbohydrates. Table sugar contains 50% glucose and 50% fructose. Both are absorbed identically in the human body. Our research has shown that there is no difference in insulin, glucose, triglycerides or any other measurement we have made. Moreover, following consumption of high fructose corn syrup, no blood measurement is abnormally elevated. I agree with the American Medical Association that HFCS is no different from any other caloric sweetener.

    The danger in demonizing HFCS with mischaracterizations is that it prevents us from focusing on the real causes of such problems as obesity which are the over-consumption of calories and the inadequate levels of physical activity. It’s good to pay attention to nutrition but let’s get the facts straight!

    James M. Rippe, M.D.

  23. Beth (Coming Up for Air)
    September 19, 2008 | 6:04 pm

    According to the studies I’ve read and researched, my facts are correct. But as with all scientific studies, everyone will come up with a different answer depending upon who is funding the research.

    I am certainly not discounting the fact that over-eating and lack of exercise to play a huge part in the obesity rate in our country. However I find it so interesting that so many people have come to this article to disprove and debunk what I’ve written. Why is it so important for you to make a special trip to try and enourage consumption of something that is really not good for you?

    In my opinion, it’s special interests. Who funded your research? Who’s interests are you protecting that HFCS needs to be shoved down our throats? Why is it so alarming to you that we are chosing NOT to consume something that clearly has very negative effects on our bodies? Most of us who are health conscious and living “green” don’t consume any, if very little, sugar in any form.

    I’m guessing it’s your form of income that is threatened by my article. Not what you feel is misinformation. There are plenty of studies out there to support what I’ve said. And I am finding that those who are connected to the corn industry are fighting me the hardest on this.

  24. Weekly Surf Spots | Gidget Goes Home
    September 21, 2008 | 8:30 am

    […] about High Fructose Corn Syrup, and why it’s evil from 5 Minutes for Going […]

  25. eat4life
    September 22, 2008 | 12:31 am

    Beth, I’m afraid you’ve really let your fellow bloggers down on this one. You’re promoting a point of view on HFCS that simply is no longer current or correct. The AMA, CSPI, Marion Nestle, Walter Willett, Barry Popkin, George Bray, Peter Havel, etc, etc, etc all agree that HFCS is metabolized no differently than sugar.

    Sure, fructose is metabolized differently from glucose. But that doesn’t matter, since all fructose sweeteners (sugar, HFCS, fruit juice concentrates, honey) contain the same amounts of fructose and glucose. They’re all interchangeable.

    I’ve seen the ads, too. While they may not have production values you’re looking for, let’s not overlook the message of moderation they contain. And from what I’ve read in this blog, their efforts to correct rampant misinformation about HFCS are badly needed.

  26. Arianne (To Think Is To Create)
    September 22, 2008 | 4:19 am

    No, Beth has not let anyone down by writing about her opinion of HFCS. I think it’s interesting how the naysayers on this post all want to ignore valid points that are made in this post and in the comments, and instead continue to focus on the “it’s so natural” and “it metabolizes the same” stories. To me, those issues are moot. What about the chemicals used to produce HFCS? What about the CMO corn is “natural”, exactly?

    The way these commenters are defending corn, characterizing those with opposing opinions as “hysterical” and “letting us down” reminds me so much of many other debates we have in this country. It’s all about big bucks and special interest funded research brow beating their way through discussions by re-framing their “opponents” as crazies. It’s so tiresome.

  27. eat4life
    September 22, 2008 | 12:05 pm

    Beth is certainly entitled to her opinion, Arianne. But consider that her opinion is severely hamstrung when her first three supporting points are incorrect:
    1) HFCS does not perform differently in the human body;
    2) HFCS is not sweeter than sugar; and
    3) HFCS does not develop fat any differntly than a comparable amount of sugar.

    Here’s an observation: Those of us reading your website come here for accurate information and lively discussions. You dismiss the diversity of comments as tiresome, yet you invite debate by writing about this and other topical subjects in the first place. I don’t get it.

  28. Beth (Coming Up for Air)
    September 22, 2008 | 12:54 pm

    I’m sorry, Eat4Life, but what part of the sources I quoted are outdated and incorrect? To address your bulleted issues stated above:
    1) HFCS does perform differently in the body compared to straight glucose. There are numerous studies that have been done that support this. In an earlier comment, I did correct my error and say that comparing HFCS to sucrose was probably not a good comparison. The rate of gastric emptying with HFCS is faster than with glucose being one factor, which is a major contributor to not feeling “full”. Fructose does go straight to the liver unbroken down, which in turn helps to produce more LDL cholesterols, a factor which contributes to heart disease and blocked arteries.
    2)According to several organic chemistry textbooks, one of which I used in my chemistry classes at university, fructose is sweeter than sucrose. The reference standard for sucrose being 100, fructose being 175 – nearly twice that of sucrose.
    3)And finally, studies suggest that “that several hormones involved in the regulation of body weight do not respond to fructose as they do to other types of sugars, such as glucose.
    ‘Fructose doesn’t appear to signal the hormonal systems involved in the long-term regulation of food intake and energy metabolism,’ he said.
    The debate picked up steam recently with the release of a new study in the July issue of Obesity Research that suggests fructose alters our metabolic rate in a way that favors fat storage.” http://www.naturalnews.com/012716.html

    Many studies are supported finacially by those who have special interests in the results. I am not blind to the fact that some studies have flaws and some studies have skewed results. The fact still remains that in an effort to live a healthy, chemical, green, holistic lifestyle, many of us are cutting out such artificial and genetically engineered sweeteners. Table sugar included. Most all processed foods are not good for us. This article was to point out another food additive that is not necessarily a good one and it was added to the column of things to either avoid or use in moderation.

    If those reading my article who take such offense to it would actually open their eyes and read the rest of the article, you would see that I am promoting moderation, but I am also promoting going back to a diet that is as close to the earth as possible. Store bought food that has been processed, with shelf-life extenders, man-made sweeteners and other preservatives in them are not “closest to the earth”.

    It is not my intention to lead anyone astray or “let [my] fellow bloggers down on this one”. It is my intention to inform and promote a healthier way of living and eating.

  29. eat4life
    September 22, 2008 | 2:18 pm

    Happy to oblige, Beth. Staying consistent with the numbering system in the blogs above:

    1) You are not alone in confusing fructose with HFCS. HFCS is not fructose. HFCS is not glucose. HFCS is the combination of [fructose + glucose] in equal amounts – the same as in sugar, honey and fruit juice concentrates. Experiments that compare fructose to glucose do not apply to HFCS because they don’t represent the composition of HFCS. Actually, the comparison of HFCS with sucrose is the correct one to make, because HFCS replaced sugar in many foods and beverages and because their composition is similar. Experiments comparing HFCS to sucrose show no differences for a whole host of metabolic parameters (see James Rippe’s blog, above).

    Beth, the whole scientific world is now embracing the idea that the human body cannot distinguish HFCS from sucrose. See my first blog for a partial list of scientists and organizations who share this idea. You should, too.

    2) Once again, you have confused fructose with HFCS. It is true that fructose is twice as sweet as sucrose in dry form; it is only 20% sweeter than sucrose in liquid form. But that doesn’t matter, either, since HFCS is only half fructose. Glucose has 40% less sweetness than sugar, so when you blend the two, you get the sweetness of sugar. HFCS was originally designed to have the same sweetness as sugar in soft drinks – that was a requirement before it could replace sugar.

    3) The devil is in the details. The authors of the papers you refer to compared pure fructose with pure glucose. You understand by now that neither of these is HFCS, so the results don’t apply. Refer again to Rippe (above) and see that comparing HFCS with sugar shows no metabolic differences. None. Don’t feel too bad about this, because the authors many times don’t understand this and misinterpret their own results.

    I don’t follow the whole genetically engineered sugar thing being applied to HFCS. The corn may (or may not) be genetically modified, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the final composition of the sweetener made from the corn. Aren’t we readers of this website supposed to be in favor of reducing pesticide and herbicide use? Well, that is one of the successes of genetic modification.

    Beth, whether and when to use caloric sweeteners in foods and beverages is a matter of personal choice. But if you choose to use one from time-to-time, understand that it really doesn’t matter to your body which one you use. Really.

  30. Beth (Coming Up for Air)
    September 22, 2008 | 2:39 pm

    I’m certainly not confusing HFCS with straight fructose. I am aware that HFCS is a combination of fructose and glucose combined. HOWEVER…with that being said, HFCS is produced when laboratories takes the glucose molecules in corn syrup and turns them into fructose. With high concentrations of fructose in the “combination” we get HFCS. The more fructose, the sweeter it is. What we are consuming in the foods we buy has greater concentrations of fructose than glucose. And in researching this article, I found many, many sources to support my statements.

    I’m confused as to your statement:

    “The corn may (or may not) be genetically modified, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the final composition of the sweetener made from the corn. Aren’t we readers of this website supposed to be in favor of reducing pesticide and herbicide use? Well, that is one of the successes of genetic modification.”

    There is nothing green about the way HFCS is produced and corn growers are indeed having to use fertilizers and pesticides, which is not organic at all, to produce enough corn for companies to turn it’s syrup into HFCS. Genetic modification is not “green” nor is it natural.

    I respect your need to argue with me on this. In fact, I find it quite stimulating. But one fact you have never addressed….why are you so hell bent in trying to convince us to eat something that “may or may not” be genetically engineered and is clearly not good for our bodies nor our environment? Quoted studies or no. Erroneous facts or no. You are still pushing something that I, as well as many readers, simply do not want to purchase nor consume. And you have yet to even state where you get your authority, a website you belong to, or who you work for. Eat4Life….seems contradictory to what you are professing here. Eating for life means to the green world to get back to nature, grow our own food, choose organic and local. Not HFCS….

  31. eat4life
    September 22, 2008 | 3:39 pm

    I don’t mean to monopolize the conversation. I’ll make one more contribution here and then get out of the way for others to comment.

    ..First my background. I’ve worked as a food scientist for nearly 30 years. It’s my business to know and understand ingredients – fats, oils, proteins, sweeteners, etc. I’ve learned over the years that caloric sweeteners are mostly interchangable.

    ..The food industry predominantly uses two types of HFCS: HFCS-55 (55% fructose) and HFCS-42 (42% fructose). The difference between these and sugar (50% fructose) is so slight as to be indistinguishable by the body. I refer you again to the list of scientists and scientific bodies that support this position.

    ..I don’t care one way or the other whether you eat sweeteners. Your choice. My opinion is that we’d all be better off if we ate less sugar…and less fat and less protein and less alcohol. HFCS has undeservedly become the poster child for obesity, when the truth is that we eat too much of everything.

    ..What I do care about is the science. Your article caught my eye because of the scientific errors it contains. Your last comments attempt to downplay the importance of the science in favor of the philosophy of a green life. You’d be far more convincing if you’d use sound science to justify your position.

    Thanks for the dialogue, Beth. OK, someone else’s turn in the barrel!

  32. Arianne (To Think Is To Create)
    September 22, 2008 | 3:49 pm


    To clarify, I did not call the diversity of the comments tiresome, I called re-framing those that don’t have the opinion that HFCS is natural and fabulous as “hysterical” and “letting us down” tiresome.

    I love diversity in comments and opinions. The truth comes out that way, and people can look at the information and decide for themselves what they can and will believe. It does no one any good to live in an echo chamber, and we welcome open and respectful discussion here at 5M4GG.

  33. kiwisoup
    September 23, 2008 | 4:00 am

    eat4life thinks that the more they post, the more right they are and the more wrong Beth is. talk about tiresome…

  34. kiwisoup
    September 23, 2008 | 4:02 am

    oh, and if you visit the corn growers website, you’ll this same list that eat4life mentioned…I find that pretty interesting.

    “The AMA, CSPI, Marion Nestle, Walter Willett, Barry Popkin, George Bray, Peter Havel”

  35. Musings of a Housewife
    September 23, 2008 | 12:14 pm

    Thank you for this. I am so up in arms over this crap being in so much food targeted to kids. To say nothing of how it is hidden in most bread and other seemingly innocuous foods. Thanks for this great information.

  36. Karen
    September 23, 2008 | 3:37 pm

    I’m not a scientist, and I’m a vegetarian, and I’m even allergic to corn. My livelihood depends not one bit on corn or the farmaceutical industry. But I gotta back Eat4Life up on this one. He is right about the research, and he stuck to the point of proving factual errors rather than embarking on philosophical distractions. I’m a little disappointed that dogma is winning over logic here. The takeaway isn’t that those ridiculous ads aren’t offensive, or that you shouldn’t avoid corn syrup; the takeaway is that you should avoid sugar. Avoid HFCS because you want to avoid refined foods, not because you’re afraid it will raise your cholesterol.

  37. Jae
    September 23, 2008 | 6:02 pm

    Hear hear!

  38. Arianne (To Think Is To Create)
    September 23, 2008 | 7:53 pm

    Eat4life has not exposed any errors in my opinion, and is obfuscating the point by only pointing out certain studies, but logic is subjective even when we wish it wasn’t.

    I could just as easily call all the comments by eat4life and others “dogma”, but the point is that we can discuss whatever aspect of this issue we like. It’s all just opinion!

    If some people prefer only a discussion of science and not any discussion of ideas, that is their prerogative, but let’s not criticize the discussion itself. It’s been a great one!

    I don’t want to have to close comments here, so let’s keep this respectful.

  39. Tiffany (Nature Moms)
    September 24, 2008 | 9:02 am

    Wow Beth! Great article and you seem to have attracted the HFCS Internet trolls who cannot stand to let people have a coherant thought of their own. The FACTS are that HFCS is not even close to natural…it is made in a lab with GE corn. The lab and the GE status already render it a useless product to people who value health. It may or may not be somehwat similar to other sweeteners but who cares… it is the HFCS industry running commercials about how safe and wonderful their porduct is. It is HFCS that got so many in the population hooked on soda. They are bad guys with a bad product and thanks for letting others know that we can and should say NO to HFCS. As for the HFCS cronies posting here…you aren’t fooling anyone.

  40. Let's Eat Cake
    September 26, 2008 | 2:02 pm

    […] Water was the second ingredient on the list, but milk and eggs were numbers 14 and 15 with the infamous HFCS somewhere in the middle. All of the other ingredients had more than one word to describe whatever […]

  41. Jessica H.
    September 27, 2008 | 10:05 am

    Wow, what an interesting article and interesting comments. I love to hear both sides of an argument.

  42. Heidi
    September 27, 2008 | 1:11 pm

    Wow, this has really gotten heated. I have to say that I agree that the commercial is very strange and it certain hit me the wrong way. It is an advertisement as well.

    However, no matter what side I’m going to take on this argument, I really must disagree with this statement: “According to the studies I’ve read and researched, my facts are correct. But as with all scientific studies, everyone will come up with a different answer depending upon who is funding the research.”

    As a scientist, I really hope that people don’t believe that ALL scientists are out there to please whoever is funding them. It really is an insult to ALL scientists (chemists, biologists, medical, geologists, etc) and ALL research projects to say that. It continues to astound me that people think so lowly of an entire industry made up of very educated persons, most of whom I have found really care about finding the truth.

    I always remind people that scientists have families too.

    Science is very much a process of hypotheses, data collecting, proving or disproving a hypothesis, and then getting more data, etc. Some studies are flawed, but certainly not all.

  43. Whitney @ Baby Tunnel Exodus
    September 28, 2008 | 2:40 pm

    I have to admit I was totally snowed by the commercials. Hats off to their marketing department, but THANK YOU, for this post. Blessings, Whitney

  44. Angie
    September 30, 2008 | 1:07 pm

    It is amazing to me that so many people would take the time to argue this issue. Isn’t the basic point moderation and to reduce the amount of artifical processed items from our food and our bodies? Just look at some basics: 20-30 years ago there was far less processed and pre-packaged foods and there was far less obesity and related diseases. Yes, there have always been and always will be obese people, you can’t change genetics but look back to when people grew and made the majority of their own food. Granted, it is not easy to do that and many do not have the ability to do just that but there are ways to avoid filling our bodies will processed foods. Takes a little more time a the store, a little more planning, and maybe a budget do over to eliminate some un-needed expenses to be able to properly purchase foods that will fuel our bodies in a healthy way. Fresh, fresh, fresh. Shop the perimiter of the stores, take advantage of local farmer’s markets while you still can. No one is perfect, just be smart about what you put in your body the majority of the time and overall, you will feel so much better. Stop arguing over these issues.

  45. Janice Lorigan
    October 1, 2008 | 2:11 pm

    My fibromyalgia symptons (pain, body discomfort, fatigue, depression and IBS) occur ONLY if I, accidentally, consume high fructose corn syrup. I don’t consider fibromyalgia a disease anymore than I would consider reactions from poison a disease. Fibromyalgia is a disorder resulting from a very confounded and hampered metabolism which begins approximately 2 days after consumption of products containing HFCS. Hard not to notice the reports of fibromyalgia coinciding with introduction of HFCS to American food supply (early 1970’s). You will not find the word (fibromyalgia) in any medical dictionary published prior to 1970.

  46. Finding Simplicity by Going Scratch
    October 2, 2008 | 12:32 pm

    […] That was nearly a month ago. I write for this blog once a month, sometimes more when I get a bee in my bonnet. Going Scratch was an idea I had to help myself return to basics. My question to myself was: Why am I […]

  47. Thinker
    January 4, 2009 | 11:34 pm

    According to the facts given in this article – “Sucrose and dextrose are broken down in our bodies way before they even reach the liver” – broken down into what??? The right answer is glucose and fructose. So what is difference between HFCS containing glucose and fructose and sucrose breaking down into glucose and fructose by the saliva in your mouth. I think for the worlds obesity problem its the question of portion size.

  48. jrdaly
    January 25, 2009 | 8:44 pm

    And yet, here you are buying into this woman’s nonsense where she sites no peer-reviewed scientific journals where she pulled her information and makes no mention of the fact that HFCS contributes to obesity or disease any more than the overconsumption of any food. The enemy is our fat culture, not any one specific food!

  49. jrdaly
    January 25, 2009 | 8:56 pm

    It’s funny. You and Beth use a few obscure and poorly performed studies to back up your opinion, but then when a doctor and eat4life (industry worker) cite their experience and many more studies, you dismiss the studies as “backed by the industry” and open to interpretation.

    What is it that you guys do for a living? Could it be possible that you peddle alternative medicine, “natural” foods and other new age nonsense?

  50. […] and artificial ingredients, of course, showed to be problematic. But the worst was corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)and all other corn-related products (from corn on the cob to cornstarch). Of course, eliminating […]

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