Is high-fructose corn syrup the devil? Yup.

Since reading Greg Critser's Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World, I've regarded high-fructose corn syrup as a kind of toxic waste, present in an unbelievable amount of processed/packaged food. But as with all issues related to commerce and obesity, HFCS is a controversial subject, with woo-woo UFOlogist pseudoscientists on both sides inventing virtues or flaws with HFCS.

This Accidental Hedonist post does a pretty good job of digging into the reputable research on HFCS and concludes that avoiding this stuff (if you can) is a pretty good idea. I'm game: the last time I binged on sweet food laden with HFCS, I found myself miserable, tired, and hung-over for days afterwards.

The one part of the HFCS debate which bugs me is the one that surrounds personal responsibility in regard to sugar intake. According to "An Omnivore's Dilemma", HFCS has not replaced sugar consumption in the US, it has merely added to it. In other words, not only are we consuming the same amount of sugars we did 20 years ago, we've added HFCS consumption on top of it. Before we can say "HFCS causes obesity", we have to be honest with ourselves and say "Too much sweeteners cause obesity", because the consumption of both absolutely plays into our weight gains.

It'd be nice to restrict HFCS intake, if it wasn't for the fact that it's in more foods than many people realize. From ketchups to soups to even cough syrups, HFCS has been made a staple of the processed food revolution. Avoiding HFCS has been made a difficult proposition that many people, including myself, are too undisciplined to address on a daily basis.

In addressing the above e-mails, it should be said that banning HFCS is an unlikely possibility, at least not until we recognize our own culpability in its consumption. But its excessive usage needs to be addressed and reduced. I would love to see food processors explain their addiction to the stuff, and in the process of this confrontation, we find out just how bad (or not) the stuff is for people.


(via the all-new, all-food Megnut)