Your humble narrator was drowning in domestic tasks yesterday, and began SEWING (!!!) ((((stop the presses)))) stuff that has been torn and buttonless since the beginning of time. While sewing, I sat in front of the TV watching THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY. The new one, Lynne Curtin, looks fabulous. I wondered, MUST we play tennis and work out 24/7 to look like that?
I think so. ((sigh))
But interspersed with the usual gossip and catfights were commercials FOR high fructose corn syrup. By the time I saw the same commercial a dozen times, I was LIVID.
The Corn Refiners Association is assuring us that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is "fine in moderation"--and brings us this chirpy-cute commercial to drive the point home.
Watching it over and over, I realized, the race of the participants and the ROLES they are playing, particularly enrages me, and I must say something about that. The OPEN RACIAL POLITICS of the commercial are fascinating, as well as infuriating.
Note that the African-American woman haughtily schools the woo-woo white woman (who reminds me of Mary Gross on the old Saturday Night Live; she used to specialize in the wide-eyed, clueless hippie routine). The white woman patronizingly blurts out to the black woman that the drink she is pouring has HFCS, and the black woman (subtly, but calmly superior) lets her know that it is JUST FINE. Then, nervous that she has been unnecessarily self-righteous with a black woman, she quickly adds, "I love that top!"
The background is very suburban American-mellow; these are two housewife-moms at a neighborhood party of some kind, with balloons everywhere and children scampering about cutely.
First, let's be clear that this commercial is directed at WOMEN, who buy most of the food for children and families. And most assuredly, it is directed at BLACK WOMEN, with a black woman reassuringly delivering the comforting nutritional information. This is at a time when African-Americans have the highest rates of diabetes in the USA. The American Diabetes Association has a whole page on this fact alone:
Compared to the general population, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes:And what contributes to diabetes?
* 3.7 million or 14.7% of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes.
* African Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes as non Hispanic whites.
Consumer Reports analyzes the ad point-by point:
1) "It’s made from corn." True. High-fructose corn syrup is indeed made from corn. But you won’t get the same beneficial nutrients in it that you would from eating an ear of corn.This is pretty tame criticism, but does make the point that this ad is pure propaganda for the industry, using a comforting set of buzzwords. A commenter at Consumer Reports, tellingly named Open Your Eyes, puts it even better:
2) "Doesn’t have artificial ingredients." Partly true. The claim about artificial ingredients is a tricky one, since high-fructose corn syrup is processed using artificial agents. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that if the final product has come in contact with synthetic agent glutaraldehyde, then it cannot be called “natural,” which they define as meaning no artificial or synthetic ingredients were added. But if the manufacturer uses the artificial agent in its production, and it does not come in contact with the corn starch, it can be considered a natural product. So its possible that some high-fructose corn syrups may be able to claim “no artificial ingredients,” according to the FDA, while others would not be permitted the phrase. It’s distinctions like these that lead Consumers Union to consider the “natural” label not meaningful.
3) "Like sugar, it’s fine in moderation." True. Most foods are fine in moderation. It’s too much or too little that causes problems. However, some would probably argue that with high-fructose corn syrup in so many products, to truly enjoy it in moderation you’d probably be better off leaving the “red juice” on the shelf.
HFCS seems to be in everything we eat without enough research. Foods that did not have HFCS before have now either been forced to up their prices or to jump on the bandwagon to compete. Now consumers were oblivious to this extra sugar intake until recently and researchers are still finding new data on its effects. According to [another commenter] fructose is easily transformed to energy without the use of insulin. Simply put: everything we eat= HFCS, High Fructose consumption=low insulin production, Low insulin=Diabetes. The name says it all "High Fructose" --so more than normal, and that is a problem. Just because it comes from corn does not make it good for you either. Soap... made from animal fat+potassium, wouldn't eat it. Glue... made from animal parts, wouldn't eat it. Play dough.. sure its non-toxic and salty but it's simply not food. Humans evolved eating naturally occurring food and HFCS doesn't grow on trees. HFCS came from a test tube in a lab. The body has a problem with artificial because for hundreds of thousands of years it got used to natural and it came from natural. This crash course of artificial isn't going to do very well.Another woman commented that she attempted to buy soup today and couldn't find any that DID NOT contain HFCS.
One reason that quack Dr Atkins made such major inroads with his goofy diet, was that he correctly pointed out how much sugar (usually in the largely-hidden and/or misunderstood form of HFCS) is in EVERYTHING. Most people were unaware, for example, that this insidious form of sugar is sneaked into non-sweet prepared foods like ketchup, soups and salad dressings. One could conscientiously read the packaging-labels, and still not fully realize one was eating pure sugar, unless you understood exactly what HFCS is.
Further confusing matters is the fact that back in the day, "fructose" (by itself) was considered a healthier alternative to sucrose (pure table sugar), since it came from fruit. Thus, for many years, consumers believed HCFS was some kind of improved-sweetener. And of course, it is not: it's a way for the corn industry to turn us all into junkies, and in the process, make themselves very rich.
Just as the tobacco companies turned out propaganda in the 60s, assuring us that nicotine was FINE, JUST FINE, these commercials are the nutritional equivalent of the SAME BULLSHIT. From Newswise Science News:
Researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. In a laboratory study of commonly consumed carbonated beverages, the scientists found that drinks containing the syrup had high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to have the potential to trigger cell and tissue damage that could cause the disease, which is at epidemic levels. They reported here today at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.And, as we have established, WHO is developing diabetes at dangerously high rates right now? African Americans.
HFCS is a sweetener found in many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and condiments. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers because it is considered more economical, sweeter and more easy to blend into beverages than table sugar. Some researchers have suggested that high-fructose corn syrup may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes as well as obesity, a claim which the food industry disputes. Until now, little laboratory evidence has been available on the topic.
In the current study, Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., conducted chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS. He found ‘astonishingly high’ levels of reactive carbonyls in those beverages. These undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with “unbound” fructose and glucose molecules are believed to cause tissue damage, says Ho, a professor of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar, whose fructose and glucose components are “bound” and chemically stable, the researcher notes.
Reactive carbonyls also are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and linked to the complications of that disease. Based on the study data, Ho estimates that a single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes.
Is it any accident that an African-American woman was chosen to deliver the Corn Refiners Association hype in this commercial? I hardly think so.
Please be aware of this industry's LIES and open manipulation of consumers as you go about your shopping... and check the labels, if you don't already. You will discover that HFCS is in everything from soup to noodle mixes. They have money to burn... or at least enough to run some expensive, carefully-targeted advertisements to defend their wanton creation of more sugar-junkies.
With all that extra coin, they don't need yours.