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t3knomanser's Fustian Deposits

High Bullshit Corn Syrup

How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

run the fuck away

Mad science gone horribly, horribly wrong(or right).

High Bullshit Corn Syrup

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tesla
When I first saw the "Corn Syrup isn't evil" ads, I was curious. I mean, the people who make high fructose corn syrup were telling me it was just like sugar- what motivation could they have to lie?

If anything, when I saw those ads, it was confirmation of all of the evils of HFCS. If HFCS weren't bad for you, they wouldn't need to advertise, right? That was my thought process anyway. But I went out and did research to see how much bullshit they were spewing.

The answer?

None.

Every scientific study has shown that HFCS is pretty much indistinguishable from sugar. And now major news outlets are picking up the story.

This isn't to say that HFCS isn't something to avoid. Empty calories aren't great for you, so someone who goes out of their way to cut HFCS is probably eating a healthier diet than one who isn't. And the real danger from HFCS isn't some chemical factory horror story about how it screws up your body, but the fact that it's used in everything. As the ads point out, HFCS is fine in "moderation", but it's almost impossible to eat it in moderation.

So, the conclusion: avoid HFCS and sugars because they're empty calories, not because you've heard some weird things about how your body breaks down HFCS.
  • Refined sugar is bad for you if you try to metabolize so much of it that it gives you hyper- or hypoglycemia. The amount that does that varies from person to person. I'm one of the unlucky ones. Fructose is metabolized even faster than sucrose, so if your sugar metabolism is wonky, it'll affect you more. Such people shouldn't drink much apple juice either, so it's not like HFCS is unique in its bad-for-you-ness.

    The Big Deal about HFCS is that its existence as an extremely cheap sweetener caused the market to be flooded with more and sweeter sweets. With so much readily available, cheap, high-sugar food, our palates and appetites adjusted. We become fatasses, not because HFCS is more fattening than honey, but because we eat sweeter foods, and more of them.

    The best diet is snobbery. HFCS tastes like ass. Foods made with it are bland, uniform, textureless drek.
    • I think it's hardly fair to blame HFCS for making food taste like drek. It's used as a sweetener because, as you pointed out, it's cheap and plentiful. One would imagine foods that get a heavy dose of cheap sweeteners are also getting other cheap ingredients. Generally, in double-blind taste tests, people can't tell HFCS and traditional sugars apart.

      As for the fructose/sucrose thing, that's not entirely accurate. Sucrose is 50% glucose and 50% fructose. HFCS is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. Now, in sucrose, those two molecules are bonded together, but the instant they're exposed to even a mild acid, they break apart into free floating molecules, so for all intents and purposes, we can ignore the difference- by the time it hits your stomach, the difference is that HFCS contains slightly more fructose than sucrose does.

      The real fix to HFCS is to cut corn subsidies. The main reason it's so damn cheap is that the government keeps the price of corn low by investing your tax dollars in it and it keeps the price of sugar high by putting steep import tariffs on it (we pay about twice as much for sugar as the rest of the world).

      And in general, people should eat less sugar.
    • It's true they do use crappy ingredients with HFCS. But HFCS also tastes like ass on its own. I've checked. *lick* "Yep, ass."

      I agree on the corn subsidies too. I also wonder whether more corn will be diverted into ethanol fuel and make HFCS more expensive.

    • The real fix to HFCS is to cut corn subsidies. The main reason it's so damn cheap is that the government keeps the price of corn low by investing your tax dollars in it and it keeps the price of sugar high by putting steep import tariffs on it (we pay about twice as much for sugar as the rest of the world).

      yes, this is exactly what I was going to say. And also, more crop diversity! Rah rah!
    • The health issue with HFCS is not omg chemical poison!, it's that like other high-glycemic index foods they stunt insulin sensitivity. This throws our evolutionary biology way out of whack and causes all sorts of problems like increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. See http://robbwolf.com/?p=37

      If you're interested in the effects of the modern, neolithic diet, robbwolf.com is a great resource. Robb is a former research biochemist, now a strength and conditioning coach, that knows his shit about nutrition. Loren Cordain's site is also worth checking out.
  • I've scripted a parody piece of that I'm going to draw up soonish... the next sentence is, "fine in moderation huh?" and then proceeds to show how many items at the kids birthday party have HFCS in them. Including the ketchup, hotdogs, buns... wonder if those presliced pickles get dosed too.
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