Wednesday, September 10, 2008

too sweet to be true...

The Corn Refiner's Association is feeling maligned. Sugar, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are being named more frequently as culprits contributing to obesity in America. So they've decided to improve the image of, in their own words, 'change the conversation.' They'd like the world to believe that HFCS is, like sugar, 'okay in moderation--but that assumes that moderation is possible. HFCS is added to many commercially prepared foods--so many, in fact, that only by a minimal to moderate consumption of any type of commercially prepared food can you even hope to limit or eliminate its consumption. HFCS keeps all sorts of things moist--baked goods, granola bars, caramel. And when it's not keeping things moist, it's being used as a sweetener, since it's readily available and in some cases cheaper than sugar. Pretty much all of us have eaten some level of HFCS at some time unless we are consciously striving to avoid it.

Maybe what would help their cause is to just change the subject. These ads are being compared to tobacco companies telling us that nicotine is not addictive, and mining companies calling coal a 'clean' energy source. Now granted, the FDA started this whole misconception with its convoluted definition of a 'natural' food--but honestly, by description of the process, HFCS is refined more than five times more than refined table sugar.

Check out the Corn Refiner's Association here--the sweeteners quiz is particularly oddly constructed. You can view the current ads from the links at the bottom of the website, under the big close up of that ear of corn:

The Corn Refiner's Association wants to change the conversation about HFCS, in the same way that an illusionist chooses to misdirect your attention from the man behind the curtain (check out the .pdf's which summarize the current campaign by opening the "Press Kit" link on their website.)

What they appear to have forgotten is that some Americans can actually think, and make reasoned and informed choices about what they put in their bodies.

HFCS? Thanks, I think I'll pass.

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