Donal's picture

    High Fructose Fights Back

    I just had to have a burrito for lunch (can't imagine why) and after ordering one at a place down the street called Elvis, I noticed a new bottle in their display case. Elvis always has the usual American soda and teas as well as popular Hispanic brands, like Jarritos. Our office vending machine is cheaper, so I never buy anything to drink there, but today I saw a Mistic Tropical Carrot Juice Drink, and a Mistic Orange Carrot Juice Drink, in attractive, carafe-shaped bottles, both of which sounded very tasty. I never cared for V8, but my wife juices apples, carrots, celery, etc and I've grown to like a small glass of that sort of juice. Alas, the primary ingredient in one was High Fructose Corn Syrup. The other had pear juice first, followed by HFCS.

    The food industry is pushing back on the dangers of HFCS lately, featuring commercials where a smart, cloyingly sweet person makes a frowning person worried about HFCS look ill-informed. For every article like this one from News at Princeton:

    A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain

    A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

    In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

    "Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."

    there is one like this from the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF):

    Another Study Confirms Fructose Still Not a Health Threat

    It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard anyone say anything positive about fructose, whether as a standalone sweetener or partnered with its pal, glucose in sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup. Many people picked up on past studies of fructose and wrongfully tried to demonize high fructose corn syrup, so we suppose it’s only karma that a comprehensive new review reveals fructose still does not contribute to obesity (when, like everything else, it is consumed in moderation).

    Drinking lots of sugar instead of HFCS is not the answer, but I have to wonder how one can consume HFCS in moderation when it always seems to be the #1 or #2 most prevalent substance in so many of the foods I reject. Princeton appears to be a world-renowned research university in New Jersey, while Wikipedia describes CCF thusly:

    The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), formerly the Guest Choice Network, is a non-profit American lobby group. It describes itself as "dedicated to protecting consumer choices and promoting common sense," and defending "the right of adults and parents to choose how they live their lives, what they eat and drink, how they manage their finances, and how they enjoy themselves."

    CCF was set up in 1995 by Richard Berman, executive director of the public affairs firm Berman and Company, with $600,000 from the Philip Morris tobacco company. Berman told The Washington Post that CCF is now funded by a coalition of restaurant and food companies as well as some individuals; according to the group's website it is supported by over 100 companies and thousands of individual consumers. Sponsors are reported to include Brinker International, RTM Restaurant Group (the owner of Arby's), Tyson Foods, HMSHost Corp, and Wendy's.

    That said, a lot of blogs with respectable names like ScienceBlogs (where Sharon Astyk now sallies forth) do carry articles claiming that HFCS isn't so bad, after all. Science Blogs did, however, briefly take on a blog from Pepsi last year, which I found out from Astyk, and which was also reported in the Guardian:

    Much consternation over at the home of science blogging, ScienceBlogs. The forum for the brilliant Orac, Pharyngula, Molecule of the Day, and countless other insightful, funny and informative blogs has decided upon a bizarre new strategy in sourcing new posts. As of yesterday, the platform will host a new blog written by food giant PepsiCo, all about the company's specialist subject of refreshing sugary drinks and their benefits for dental and dietary health.

    After many defections, ScienceBlogs eventually dumped Pepsico's advertorial blog.

    I remain suspicious of new studies trying to reassure me that HFCS is essentially the same as sucrose. The usual argument is that HFCS 55 (55/42) and HFCS 42 (42/53) each have almost the same proportion of fructose and glucose as sucrose (50/50). But HFCS 90 seems to have disappeared from ADM's website, and HFCS apologists claim now that it was only used for mixing with HFCS 42 to make HFCS 55. As I recall, ADM's description was that HFCS 90 was used in jellies, frostings and sodas. And it appears that both HFCS 90 and HFCS 95 are used overseas as an artificial honey and in sodas.

    Also, while HFCS may contain proportionally similar amounts of fructose as sucrose, it is chemically more like a pre-digested sucrose that doesn't exist in nature. HFCS is made by mixing corn starch with sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid. Sometimes the result contains trace amounts of mercury. (Anecdotally, it gives me indigestion.) Food processing companies only use it because it is cheaper than sugar, and can be made sweeter. It makes sense to avoid it and limit sugars in general.



    The corn industry is now attempting to show how unaware American consumers are by attempting to rebrand HFCS into the newly minted "Corn Sugar". They even have a website

    Depressing really when you consider how truly nasty this stuff is.

    "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one,


     This is some magic shit.....Why does Donal hate us for our (consumer) freedom?  And, btw, when you have consumer freedom, those other kinds are just redundant..tedious even.....

     And don't even think of telling me what kind of light bulb to buy! (everyone knows those squiggly cfl bulbs are a serious pain in the ass, and I don't mean that as a metaphor...)

    Oh my.  Whatever happened to the Adam & Eve catalog?  Don't people know it exists anymore??

    Well, maybe, but when you turn on the light bulb....well, you know....

    Hmm.  I'll never look at Uncle Fester the same way again...

    See, this is why I just drink beer.

    Very good blog, Donal.  I weened myself off of soft drinks (diet, of course) because they all (including diet sodas) stimulate insulin production, and it is the yoyoing of insulin that is one (very big part) of what makes maintenance of weight so difficult.  Add that to the general lack of physical movement, and you've got --> fatness! 

    That is not to say that I am a perfect example of healthful intake:  The thing I drink the most of is water.  Second is probably wine, with an occasional binge of beer.  Coffee is how I start my day, but I only drink it in the am.  I have to say, though, that since I quit sodas I really do feel better.

    I always notice the high fructose corn syrup level in labels, and if I see it, I don't buy it period.  I equate it with poison.  

    I have one message to all of you:  If you think you don't like water, get large containers delivered to you and really TASTE the water.  I really enjoy it, but I don't buy individual bottles anymore because of the environmental impact.  

    PS:  Deer Park really, really sucks!

    We filter our tap water, but you're right about dropping the soda.

    The industry doth protestith too much, me thinks.

    There is an obvious alternative: diet drinks.

    That said, my girlfriend just warned me about a study connecting diet drinks to stroke risks.

    That said that said, the study doesn't sound like it's especially rigorous. I'll take my chances with sugar substitutes and avoid the weight gain, which is very reliably connected to health risks.

    PS I love V8 and carrot juice, but those Mystic drinks are crap.

    I'll take my chances with sugar substitutes and avoid the weight gain…

    Yeah, guess again

    Yeah Atheist, I've read about that one before, but that author himself states that his study shows correlation not causation.

    Regardless of that, diet sodas stimulate insulin production just as do the sugary ones. Insulin fluctuations are a big culprit in weight gain. That is why high fat and protein, low-carb ( or even high complex carb) diets work because the insulin level isn't yo-yoing all over the place. The one diet that I lost weight on, kept it off, and felt great all the time, is the ZONE diet (as in Jennifer Anniston). By eating a combination of carbs, fat and protein (in proper ratios)' the insulin level stays steady and you feel great. The weight goes south. You can even drink wine as long as you combine it with Macadamia nuts!

    About sugar substitues, what Verified Atheist said.

    Once thing I have noticed when using sugar substitutes is that I will sometimes eat even though I am not physically hungry but my brain is.   Glucose is brain fuel.  Plus I think the aspartame or something in Diet Coke is more addictive than cigarettes because giving it up took longer.

    As a writer, your work is more mental than physical so you should take good care of your brain.  Some useful information to that end can be found here:


    Thanks Emma. I assure you that notwithstanding my preference for diet drinks, I have not deprived myself of glucose.

    Bourbon.  It's good for you.

    What they need is a gooooood diet beer with high alcohol content.

    Add some pretend chips and a humungous flat screen and you would find the American Dream!

    Good piece, Donal.  I've been trying to stay away from HFCS for a long time now, but it's in just about everything.  Even bread.  I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading labels to keep away from HFCS, saturated fat, cholesterol, red dyes, and everything else I keep hearing is bad for me.

    I drink coffee in the morning, Crystal Light, iced tea and water.  I make smoothies from frozen unsweetened fruit, bananas, skim milk and Truvia.  Now and then, a glass of wine.

    And of course I eat chocolate, because I don't think I can live without it.  (Or maybe it's that I wouldn't want to live without it.)  I remember years ago when they interviewed the oldest living woman in France.  Her secret to long life was red wine and chocolate.  Not only did she live a long life, she enjoyed it, too!

    You basically have to avoid processed food because HFCS is in pretty much everything.

    That's very true, but when you avoid processed food, you see how much raw food now costs.

    Indeed.  Though you can eat less of it.  I'm not being flip there, either.  I've found that meats without extenders and the like are just more satisfying, they fill you up for longer.  And there are still some bargains out there.  The bulk bins at Whole Foods can take the sting off the sticker shock.

    A slight name change and a rebranding and High Fucktose could be the new food additive - and erectile enhancer - of the age. 

    "High Fucktose - Sure it'll harden your arteries, but it'll stiffen that dick too."

    "High Fucktose - Wanna get bigger ALL over? Sure you'll have a 46" waist. But what about that whang?"

    Seems so obvious. 

    Quinn, you always manage to cut through the "junk" and set everyone straight. Now, don't get me wrong -- I am not getting "testy" here. But I'd like to suggest a lunch time alternative to your breakfasty-sounding "High Fucktose." -->. Peanut Butter and KY Jelly.

    I've got the perfect jingle for it!

    Porn syrup

    Send that one to the corn growers.

    Rick Berman ?
    Are they kidding?

    The very same Richard Berman who said “Cripples” threaten the nation’s economy?

    The Worshipfull  PR Master who believed anyone with  a disability, or a child in a wheelchair, or a loved one who is blind should all sit in their  houses and rot?

    “The ridiculous Americans With Disabilities Act will CRIPPLE the hospitality industry”

    Yup, Berman said that.

    Protections for the disabled, according to Chairman Berman, will take down the nation’s economy.

    Chairman Rick ‘advised’ the clueless 1989 American Congress that ” a vote against the Americans with Disabilities Act was " like kicking a cripple”

    He should know.

    According to Chairman Rick, the spineless President Bush and his pantywaist legislature supported the ADA ONLY because they were "afraid of appearing insensitive”.
    Mr. Berman is certainly not threatened with sensitivity.

    Rick Berman’s bottom line?

    If you...

    are a member of a union

    lost a child to a drunk driver

    want a better life for livestock

    have a parent in a wheelchair

    want to feed the hungry

    are bothered by smokers while you eat in a restaurant

    support higher salaries for teachers & firefighters?

    Chairman Rick  believes you just got no reason for living.


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