Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Corn Refiners Assoc. responds to post on HFCS

For those of you who read my post the other day on the end of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), you may be interested to know that someone from the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) responded in the comments to the post.

As a recap, the CRA is the trade group that puts out those commercials exclaiming that high fructose corn syrup is really just like sugar and should be eaten in moderation. The underlying message of these commercials is, "It's just sugar, Stupid!", with the questioning actor left blinking like a deer in headlights after being admonished for thinking otherwise.

Again, the CRA is a trade group consisting of companies like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland and it is in their best interest to keep pumping us full of HFCS. Their subsidized monoculture GMO corn crops are dirt cheap to produce and cheaper for manufacturers to purchase (partially due to import tariffs on foreign sugar) than table sugar or other forms of sweeteners so they are pervasive in everything from soda to bread to soup.

Anyway, a CRA representative, Audrae Erickson, left several quotes in the comments of my post from those who felt that the Princeton study mentioned in my original post was flawed. Ms. Erickson wrapped it all up with the statement that, "Consumers are being misled into thinking that there are nutritional differences between high fructose corn syrup and sugar, when in fact they are nutritionally the same. Whether from cane, beets, or corn, a sugar is a sugar."

Well, consumers are not complete morons, even if the CRA commercials are insinuating as much. The issue is not one of nutritional similarities.

While table sugar and HFCS seem similar on the surface, how the body deals with them is where the difference lies. And that's what the Princeton study (and others) is trying to show. Not the nutritional similarities and how many calories each has.

Finally, just to throw something new on the fire, a March 2010 Duke University Medical Center study found that "increased consumption of high fructose corn syrup was associated with scarring in the liver, or fibrosis, among patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)." Apparently, NAFLD is not uncommon in the United States, affecting almost 1/3 of the adult population.

And, I'm not even mentioning the whole mercury contamination issue with HFCS.

Check out the spoof of this CRA commercial for some real facts.


Ivy said...

It really boggles the mind, the lengths that these companies will go to in order to deny the reality of the products they are pushing at consumers. Anything to turn a profit, right?

What does it say about us that we allow the lure of profit to override any concern for the health and safety of human beings?

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

Again we are not stupid. We are more powerful than the companies. If "we" do not like it then "we" do not buy it. This is why they are trying to make us think everything is roses. We can make a big impact and they know it.
Keep it coming Crunchy Chicken! Give them what they deserve!

Kristijoy said...

all sugars are NOT equal. hello! basic chem.
But it goes to say, agave syrup is also, just fructose and kinda the greenwashing of agave when the tequila market was down.

Nic, SD said...

Awesome! Thank you for this. My husband and I have been talking about this one for the past 2 days, so that was excellent timing.
Also I love that you used the Natalie Dee corn image with it :) :)

Margaret said...

So, it's just a sugar. Well, that makes it OK then.

While I'm not the cook in my household, or shopper, I like to think that I should be able to make, from raw ingredients, all the food I eat.

While I don't mill/grind wheat I could learn to and then carry on to make bread. While I don't make cheese I could learn to milk the cow or goat and make butter and then the cheese. I could grow the food for our chickens for Sunday dinner or for eggs. I could keep bees for honey as a "real" sweetener.

I don't know how to make sugar. Can that be made from sugar beet (we can't grow cane in the UK) at a household level?

So, while I eat things sweetened with sugar, I recognise the contradictions involved. HFCS might be "just a sugar" and that might be totally true, but most "just a sugar" products seem to be pretty artificial to me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if someone has posted this already, but have you seen this?

It's a lecture from UCSF that I thought was really eye-opening. It attacks all sugars, but table sugar (sucrose) has one glucose and one fructose, and HFCS has more fructose. In short, the way the body processes glucose and fructose is completely different. Glucose is fuel for muscles and the brain, whereas fructose is not. It is processed in the liver with most of it being made into fatty acids. It was really interesting to watch.

CoCargoRider said...

While everything is a chemical can the CRA person claim that HFCS is natural or man made? Sugar while processed is natural and people have been using it for centuries. If man must intervene to make it "better" it almost always is bad.

Juliana Crespo said...

Wow, I had a similar experience recently on my blog. I wrote about the dangers of Teflon (which many people still don't know about), and a representative from DuPont posted a comment on my blog indicating that Teflon is absolutely safe and there's a lot of misinformation out there. I told him, I'd rather be safe than sorry and there's nothing for me to lose by going Teflon-free. Seems these "representatives" are out there scoping out bloggers who are blunt enough to speak the truth. So interesting.

Billie said...

Thank you for indicating that HFCS and sugar was in the fructose molecule. I was a little confused about how they were identical and yet were two different products.

I had been hearing that the body didn't process it as well and have been moving away from it but the kicker for me was the potential for mercury contamination.

I still find HFCS in some of the things I drink/eat but have gotten rid of a lot of it just by not purchasing foods in plastic!

Jennie said...

I love how they are always so careful to say, "nutritionally the same" and never acknowlege the chemistry.

Margaret, try growing a small patch of Stevia! The leaves are very sweet and can be dried and powdered quite easily at home and used in many sweetner capacities.

Juliana, I have heard that teflon is especially bad for cats. Have you seen that information? I can't recall where I heard it.

Greenpa said...

Hiya Crunch. At least it's good that the industry person actually identifies herself as such. That helps.

Keep in mind that Audrae may very well believe what she is selling; the big companies have many ways of arranging that- a sincere person sells much better.

She is also a person (we assume). Perhaps rational, who knows. :-)

I would challenge her, Audrae, personally, to present evidence backing up her positions from ANY source outside the industry. Which means any professor at Harvard who gets funding, of any kind, from the sugar industry is disqualified.

If what she's saying is a good solid scientific fact; she really should be able to produce good evidence from sources that do not benefit from the industry. (Studies from rabid opponents are also suspect, of course.)

Are there any? I really don't know; not my turf.

If she can cite good abundant peer-reviewed studies - from outside any industry influence- great! I'd love to see it. Maybe I'd change my mind if the evidence was good and solid.

Farmer's Daughter said...

Ditto Greenpa. Seroiusly, mommy-brain sucks. Can't think or out together a coherent sentence. Glad I'm reading and agreeing with so many commenters, so I don't have to say it myself.

Jennifer said...

"Consumers are being misled into thinking that there are nutritional differences between high fructose corn syrup and sugar, when in fact they are nutritionally the same. Whether from cane, beets, or corn, a sugar is a sugar."

That shit is laughable! It actually made me chuckle!

Colleen said...

wow she really picked on the wrong blogger. It's amazing that they pay someone to seek out commentary at this level. And it's all included in the price of the products!

Juliana Crespo said...

Jenny, I haven't heard of Teflon being really bad for cats, but I would not be surprised. Bird owners who own Teflon will often find their birds dead after having had turned on the stove with the Teflon pot on it. The carcinogenic and other hazardous chemicals are actually released in the first couple of minutes while the pot is on the stove, which is very scary. That birds are dying from exposure to this is a strong sign that something isn't right to begin with. Let me know if you find anything about cats being affected by it ... that sounds really interesting and creepy.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

"Consumers are being misled into thinking that there are nutritional differences between high fructose corn syrup and sugar, when in fact they are nutritionally the same. Whether from cane, beets, or corn, a sugar is a sugar."

Notice that she doesn't mention at all how the body processes HFCS versus sugar. HFCS is broken down in the liver and makes it work harder than sugar, which is one of many reasons diabetics have to avoid HFCS like the plague.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...


I wrote about my switching to a cast iron griddle from Teflon. I have links and info in the post from Dupont (they make Teflon and think it's marvy) and the Environmental Working Group (they tested Teflon too and don't think it's marvey) I didn't have anyone from Telfon contact me adn leave nasty comments. But that did happen when I wrote about the how in some countries Fair Trade chocolate cooperatives are not being as Fair to the farmers and/or corrupt - they were on me in a heartbeat.

Robj98168 said...

It really bothers me that audrey and others will say anything to make a sale.
I have adult onset type II diabetes. I can only determine that it is partially the fault of HFCS, or rather the products that use HFCS. HFCS is like tobacco. People get hooked on the sweet. then outfits like RCA come out and say that relax- it's fine in moderation. Well what the hell is moderate about it being in everything. I can blame my diabetes on being overweight my whole life, cant really blame MickyD, Jack or the Burger King as I am not a fan.But jusy like smoking and the tobacco industry, this sounds awfully familiar.

The Nurturing Pirate said...

I almost cried when I saw that there was HFCS in my box(es) of Girl Scout cookies. :-( And, because I can be an "emotional eater," I consoled myself by eating the whole box. God knows I don't want that stuff in my kids! :-)

Not sure how I'm going to support the Girl Scouts next year...

Sharlene said...

What that HFC people are doing is no different than the tobacco companies that claim nicotiene is not addictive. Those execs knew they were lying and they did it anyway, jeopardizing the health of millions for the almighty dollar. Its sickening.

Urban Thorn said...

I absolutely love how we're surrounded by natural sources of everything we need and yet we continue this bogus search for a perfect synthetic... In the process we create these screwed up addictive substances that take over our food production methods... honestly, HFCS in my apple sauce? It's like there's HFCS on one side, Aspartame on the other and all i wanted was an inexpensive snack food on the go that wouldn't make my body go haywire.

Lora said...

Fine, Audrae--it's exactly the same. I have a slightly different objection: Why does HFCS have to be in every-be-freakin'-thing under the sun?

Perfectly good bread can be made out of flour, water, yeast, a dash of salt. A delicious and tasty stuffing is made of stale sourdough bread, onion, celery, herbs and stock. Mayo is made of eggs, oil, lemon juice/vinegar and a little mustard powder for flavor. Tomato paste should contain, shockingly, *tomatoes* and nothing else. Even pickles! Pickles, ferthaluvvagawd, should be sour!

When Americans go to Europe, especially to countries where food purity laws are taken rather seriously (eg Italy), they always say, Oh the food was incredible! It is my contention that HFCS is added to foods to disguise the fact that they are of such low quality that they might as well be cardboard, much as formaldehyde, molasses and chalk used to be added to watered-down half-spoiled milk to disguise the poor quality.

That doesn't necessarily make the formaldehyde/chalk/molasses producers evil conspirators, but when a dairy truck pulls up in front of a mortuary, I think I'm obliged to wonder why.

Anonymous said...

Granted Mercola can be an alarmist at times, but here is a very good article in which he dubunks almost every argument our "rah, rah, corn team" has put forth.