What the hell? The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Corn Refiners Association (representing the producers of high-fructose corn syrup) actually agree on something. Both the CSPI and the CRA have sent a joint letter to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, objecting to a proposed tax that would only apply to soft drinks sweetened with HFCS. The CSPI and the CRA both agree, “the idea that high-fructose corn syrup is more harmful than sugar is an “urban myth.” [CSPI]

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  1. HRHKingFriday says:

    I liken it to butter and margarine. Neither are good for you, but when I have a choice I go with the one that occurs in nature.

  2. laserjobs says:

    I would like to see a chart of HFCS vs US obesity rates or weight averages to see if any corelation is observerd. One thing I don’t like is the chalky bitter taste with HFCS compared to real sugar.

  3. bohemian says:

    There are a bunch of health studies that say otherwise.
    [www.sfgate.com]

    There is also some anecdotal evidence that it can make some other medical conditions worse.

    Bring on the passover coke, in moderation of course.

  4. JustAGuy2 says:

    @laserjobs:

    I’m sure they’re correlated, but for different reasons. US producers use HFCS because sugar tariffs are incredibly high and corn is subsidized.

  5. timmus says:

    Here in Texas we’re able to buy Mexican Coca Cola at the grocery store, made with actual sugar. It’s a shocking reminder of how good Coke tasted in the 1970s when it didn’t have all that corn syrup crap in it. Some Mexican coke does have HFCS; you have to read the labels.

  6. forever_knight says:

    cities should be able to ban what they want to ban.

    ban away SF!

  7. ancientsociety says:

    Wow, the CSPI should re-name themselves – The Center for Science in the CORPORATE Interest.

    Like Bohemian mentioned, there are several well-done studies that show a direct correlation with HFCS and a number of obesity and health issues.

  8. boandmichele says:

    @timmus: ive heard about that and mexican dr pepper, and how good they are. are they bottled in mexico? because that would kinda scare me…

  9. dorianh49 says:

    From what I understand, chemicals in High Fructose Corn Syrup block the signals to your brain that tells you when you’re full or you’ve had enough. This is dangerous because you’ll end up eating much more than usual and/or consume much more sugar than you normally would.

    Consuming cane sugar, on the other hand, your body will tell you pretty quickly when you’ve had too much.

    Over the past couple months, I’ve avoided hydrogenated oils, MSG, and HFCS as much as possible and have dropped about 20 lbs., from about 195 to about 175. I don’t even excercise! I don’t feel as tired as I used to, and I’m able to concentrate on stuff much better, as well.

    Everyone’s different, of course, but I’m convinced that there’s a corrolation to consuming fewer manmade chemicals and feeling (and looking) better.

  10. DrGirlfriend says:

    cane sugar FTW o/

    by the way, mexican coke is not the only cola you can get that’s made with cane sugar. i am pretty sure the Whole Foods house brand cola is also made with cane sugar (at least it used to be a couple of years ago, when I used to buy it)

  11. gmanj says:

    @bohemian:

    Not exactly…I read this article and here’s what it actually says:

    1) Some experts “theorize” that the body processes HFCS differently;
    2) Others say it’s not the HFCS but how much is put into foods we consume;
    3) Because it’s cheap, more is put into foods we eat, causing us, as a nation, to get fatter;
    4) Fructose is unnatural;
    5) Fructose is treated differently in the bloodstream and the pancreas and liver, each negatively affecting the body’s control of fat and appetite, HOWEVER, HFCS is 55/45 Fructose/Glucose and table sugar is 50/50. Since the studies have focused on fructose in isolation, there is no actual evidence of a material distinction between HFCS and regular sugar – additional studies are needed on this point.
    6) Many leading nutritionists think the problem is how many sugar calories, regardless of source, that we are now consuming.

    There’s very little in the article supporting the idea that HFCS is a culprit in and of itself.

  12. Buran says:

    @bohemian: That’s what I was going to say. “Really? Then why are there lots of studies that show that the obesity epidemic started about when corn syrup showed up, and studies that show that it’s not good for you?”

    These people don’t know what they’re talking about.

  13. MercuryPDX says:

    @DrGirlfriend: Jones Soda ( [www.jonessoda.com] ) has a Pure Cane Sugar line. I’ve only seen it in my local Winco though.

  14. savvy999 says:

    My local Target carries the best selection of Jones sodas around.

  15. courtarro says:

    @mercurypdx: I tried Jones Soda, but I found it way too sweet. It would be nice to have a cane sugar-based soda that doesn’t go completely overboard with the sugar.

  16. Anitra says:

    It might not be that HFCS itself is the problem – but the fact that it’s in pretty much EVERY processed food certainly is a problem. Lots of things that used to be made without sugar, or with a very small amount, are now made with larger amounts of HFCS instead. If you avoid HFCS, you are avoiding over-sweetened foods in general.

  17. Kurtz says:

    @boandmichele: Mexican Coca Cola is bottled in Mexico. If that scares you, just remember it’s safer to drink than the tap water down there. I’ve never had a problem with Mexican Coke or Pepsi.

    You can get Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar in the States. It’s often sold as “Dublin Dr. Pepper” after Dublin, Texas, where it’s bottled. The Dublin plant was the only Dr. Pepper bottler in the country that didn’t switch to high fructose corn syrup in the 1970s. Dublin Dr. Pepper costs about $2-$3 more a six pack, but the taste makes it worth it.

  18. veronykah says:

    @AnitraSmith: Yeah, WHY do all the breads at the grocery store contain HFC?
    I refuse to buy things with this in them.

  19. phrygian says:

    @courtarro: I like Boylan’s and Hank’s. I can usually get them at World Market. (They also carry Jones, but oddly only the stuff with HFCS.)

  20. descend says:

    @Buran:

    And a lack of pirates is causing global warming!!

    [www.seanbonner.com]

  21. StinkyCat says:

    @laserjobs:

    The hidden variable there is consumption and advertising as it it related to easylifestyle’s. HFCS might or might not be worse than sugar…but either way we, as a society, are consuming more foods with either of them, per capita than before.

  22. @gmanj: Uhm, fructose is naturally occurring in fruits, so there goes the “it isn’t natural” argument.

    Here’s what boggles the mind: Table sugar is 50/50 sucrose/fructose. HFCS is typically 45/55. It’s “high” fructose in comparison to table sugar or regular corn syrup. I’m not saying that this isn’t a tipping point kind of problem, but there’s probably deeper issues.

    Like fat/protein consumption. Fat consumption has declined slightly in the face of low fat recommendations. Protein consumption as well. Carb consumption has exploded, driving caloric consumption up. Since we know carbs mess with ghrelin, the hunger hormone, this is pretty much common sense. Meanwhile, I read a story the other day about soda (and fruit) causing gout, via fructose and it’s funky effects on your metabolism. So, both ways.

    Drink Diet Sodas, if you’re gonna drink soda. The sugar is crap for you, regardless of whether it’s cane sugar or HFCS.

  23. ninabi says:

    Anecdotal but I avoid HFCS and I’m the only one in my family of normal weight and I’m a few years shy of 50. And I eat high calorie foods chocolate, shortbread, cheese etc.

    There are many factors in weight gain- amount of exercise, heredity and so many uncontrolled variables such as the hormones found in beef and the effect plastics have on one’s hormone levels.

    It’s a bitch trying to find HFCS free items. Trying asking for syrup free bread in a supermarket chain.

  24. Chaosium says:

    @ancientsociety: Correlation is not Causation.

    People who eat fatty junk food imbibe more HFCS than people who eat more balanced diets, that doesn’t mean that the HFCS is that much worse for them.

    Not that i’m fond of HFCS, of course.

  25. The Porkchop Express says:

    @mercurypdx: also at panera bread, pretty good stuff.

  26. ret3 says:

    HFCS isn’t a problem for biochemical reasons, but rather for economic reasons. Corn subsidies make it dirt cheap to put it in just about everything. If we had to pay more for sweets because they contained cane sugar, we’d consme less of them. Remove the subsidies, and corn products would begin to be priced in accordance with their true cost of production. I bet we’d see somewhat higher food prices as HFCS is replaced by cane sugar.

  27. suburbancowboy says:

    Prior to 1950 the average American used to spend roughly 44% of their income on food. Now they spend less than 10%. The quality of our food has gone down the pipes, and we are eating cheap processed crap.
    I urge you all to check out the documentary “King Corn”. After that, see how you feel about putting that crap in your body.

  28. scarletvirtue says:

    @Kurtz: I didn’t know there was a Dublin, Texas. Now, I feel like a dumbass for thinking that the Dr Pepper was coming from Dublin, Ireland.

    Also, the Coca-Cola that’s Kosher for Passover is good stuff – look for the 2-liter bottles with a yellow cap.

  29. Earth2Kim says:

    I’ve learned a lot from this thread, thanks guys. Could someone kindly explain how Splenda/sucralose fits in to all this? Seems like it’s better for you than regular sugar (or so they want you to believe), and certainly HFCS. I’ve seen Diet Coke with Splenda, and prefer it when I can find it, although I have no idea how it relates to other sweeteners in terms of how good it is for the body.

  30. nrwfos says:

    @ninabi: You are so right about that. There is NO bread that doesn’t have HFCS. My whole family is corn intolerant. It’s not just an allergy for my mother – it’s life threatening for her. She is pretty much SOL with most of the foods that she loves and she’s too old and frail to cook for herself. Even baking powder has corn starch (or flour)in it. that by it self wouldn’t be so bad if corn in other multiple forms weren’t in everything. I’m trying to formulate the best way to bake bread for my Mom myself and mail it to her. (I’m 1400 mi. away.) Obviously without preservatives the shelf life is very short. Frozen bread has to be toasted to taste good. It’s a real problem.

    @StinkyCat: HFCS is in EVERYTHING if it’s been touched by man’s hands. It’s in dog foods. I think the corn should be saved for making packaging materials and fuel alternatives. I love corn on the cob – but that’s the only corn I want in my food.

  31. myzenthing says:

    You can also get Boylan’s Soda with real cane sugar.

    [www.boylanbottling.com]

  32. Rusted says:

    @Kurtz: I’ve drunk the water in Mexico. No issues.

    @suburbancowboy:My body doesn’t like it at all. I feel nasty after eating any type of corn. Think it’s that BT corn. Humans don’t do too well on bug poison either. It’s getting really hard to find much of anything processed without corn in it.

  33. lazyazz says:

    HFCS is composed of glucose and fructose which are broken down quite easily in a weekly acidic environment. Sucrose (cane sugar) is broken down into fructose and glucose through hydrolysis by sucrase during digestion. Sucrase is an enzyme that is regulated by the body, and without it, the body can not regulate the amount of sugar absorption in the blood stream. – first semester of biochem. Guess all of the PHD’s at the CSPI and the CRA slept that day.

  34. Spiny Norman says:

    Fructose has been recently implicated in the development of gout, an extremely painful process where urea in the bloodstream crystallizes in the joints. The result is debilitating swelling and pain. The known therapies are all poor. Sucrose is half glucose and half fructose FWIW.

    The point is the taxation idea is stupid. Trying to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in the food chain is an exercise in futility.

  35. sirwired says:

    @Earth2Kim: Splenda/sucralose isn’t really that sugar-like. In fact, the Equal folks went to court about it. It turns out that while Sucralose can be made from sugar (and in the case of Splenda, it is) it can also be made from some other random agricultural byproducts that bear no relation to sugar and the end result is the same chemical, and that chemical is not sucrose, or a sugar of any kind.

    SirWired

  36. Dervish says:

    @lazyazz: Yes, but sodas that contain sucrose are so acidic that much of the sucrose in the drink is already hydrolyzed into glucose and fructose, without any sucrase being present.

  37. Dervish says:

    @Earth2Kim: The reason people say that sucralose is so similar to sugar is that they’re very similar chemically. However, as can sometimes be the case in chemistry, “similar chemically” doesn’t really mean much. Sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than sucrose. When you buy standard splenda, most of that you’re getting is actually maltodextrin filler. Pound for pound, sucralose has 85% of the calories of sugar – but you’re using much less of it, so the amount you’re getting is “calorie-free.”

    I’m guessing that’s part of why it’s touted as so safe – because in actuality you’re only getting a tiny bit. I don’t know that I buy that, though. Plus it hasn’t been on the market long enough to be studied long term, which makes me think that it probably shouldn’t be advertised as the safe alternative to other sweeteners.

  38. Kbomb says:

    I don’t know if physiologically HFCS is more harmful, but I do know that the idiotic federal farm subsidies that make abundant HFCS possible are likely reasons why we consume so much sugar. If we paid the actual price of it we wouldn’t drink so much pop and we wouldn’t be ruining the economy of carribean sugar cane farms.

  39. JMH says:

    I know nothing about the health risks, but I do know that drinks sweetened with cane sugar taste better.

  40. TangDrinker says:

    @nrwfos: Archer Farms (Target brand) and Harris Teeter (local NC based grocery store) brand whole wheat breads do not have HFCS in them. Neither do Peppridge Farms mini whole wheat bagels (but the Thomas’s do). I’ve been trying to only purchase HFCS free items as much as possible for my family – and am glad some stores still use “honey” as the sugar in bread products.

  41. B says:

    All I know is sugar tastes better.

  42. RvLeshrac says:

    @Spiny Norman:

    That’s funny, many of the fruits and vegetables that naturally contain fructose are eaten to prevent gout…

  43. BugMeNot2 says:

    san francisco is full of a bunch of smug idiots who love the smell of their own farts. they need to come up with something better to focus their attention on.
    maybe solve world hunger or something. damn hippies!