High Fructose Corn Syrup Research Paid For By HFCS Industry

CBS says that they took a look at the research cited by the marketing campaign from the Corn Refiners Association — which features “people-in-the-know” rolling their eyes and scoffing at befuddled anti-corn-syrup zealots — and realized that “three were sponsored by groups that stand to profit from research that promotes HFCS. Two were never published so they’re funding sources are unclear. And one was sponsored by a Dutch foundation that represents the interests of the sugar industry.”

CBS says that research has shown that the outcome of studies seems to be influenced by who is paying for the study…

Last year, research from the Children’s Hospital Boston suggested that nutrition research, like medical and tobacco research, can be influenced when industry funds the studies. It showed that when studies were sponsored exclusively by food/drinks companies, the conclusions were four to eight times more likely to be favorable to the sponsoring company.

So, is corn syrup bad for you? Experts do not agree, but the general consensus is that while it may not be worse for you than sugar — it’s not exactly good for you either.

Sweetner Controversy Grows [CBS] (Thanks, j h5279!)

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  1. squatchie44 says:

    I try not to consume raw high fructose corn syrup, tastes bad.

  2. dorianh49 says:

    Whether or not it’s true that HFCS blocks the signal to your brain that says “you’re full”, I notice that I eat much less and feel satisfied sooner when I avoid soda with my meal. I’ll occasionally have a cane sugar-sweetened soda, but I usually can’t finish the whole thing (unlike HFCS-sweetened sodas).

  3. Paper says:

    I know this will probably get repeated a lot(as it tends to be repeated), but a very small amount of almost anything probably isn’t bad for you. The problem is that HFCS is in EVERYTHING, so there’s no way to avoid it without abstaining from all processed foods. Which isn’t such a bad idea, though one shunned by people that prefer convenience.

    • nicemarmot617 says:

      @Paper: I totally agree. I don’t mind eating small amounts of HFCS – but I can’t just eat small amounts without cutting all processed foods out of my diet. I’ve already completely cut out soda and I don’t miss it one bit. But some of my favorite candies and juices have HFCS in them, not to mention all the random prepackaged foods you find it in (baby carrots???).

      Here’s a question that interests me: is anyone allergic to that stuff? And how do they avoid it?

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        @nicemarmot617: i used to babysit for a kid with a reaction to it – she got REALLY hyper and then bad headaches when she had anything with corn syrup [her mom had a terrible pregnancy because of it too - drank a soda and the baby started kicking!]

        there was a LOT of home cooking in the house and the kid ate pretty much just fresh whole fruits and vegetables, meats cooked with limited seasonings and no prepackaged sauces or treats of any kind.

        wasn’t QUITE as bad then – that was back in the 80′s. HFCS wasn’t in absolutely everything yet, but it was in a whole lot of things i never expected

      • Dervish says:

        @nicemarmot617: I’m sure that someone, somewhere has a documented corn allergy. In general, though, very few people are allergic to corn. This is one of the reasons why food manufacturers don’t have to call it out as an allergen on the package – like they do with nuts, wheat, soy, milk, and others.

        Additionally, since HFCS is made from corn starch it contains no corn proteins, which are what trigger allergies.

        As someone else has said in these comments, it will be interesting to see whether/when corn will become a prevalent allergen given how much we consume it.

    • @Paper: That’s the real problem — it literally is in everything. I’m surprised they haven’t tried spraying it on fresh produce from crop-dusters. Apparently Americans will not eat food that has not been artificially sweetened.

    • Blitzgal says:

      @Paper: And not only just convenience but for people who have limited abilities to get to the grocery store on a daily basis. When I didn’t have a car and was getting minimum wage, I could only get out to the store a) when I could get a ride and b) when I got paid. That meant every few weeks. I had to buy food that would last until the next time I could get to the store.

      Now that I make a bit more money I’m able to buy better quality food. I still don’t have a car, though. So I’m still a weekly shopper and fresh food is only around the first couple of days after my trip to the store.

  4. Darkkeyboard says:

    Next on CBS news: Is cyanide bad for you? One doctor says no!*

    *sponsored by the Kevorkian cyanide company.

    /Euthanasia: the other white meat!

  5. kahri says:

    I don’t see a problem with this. Especially seeing as experts seem to disagree. Wouldn’t this be true for most ads claiming ‘research shows…’?

  6. SkokieGuy says:

    And expect more ads.

    Not only is HFCS highly controversial (and nearly impossible to avoid if you purchase any kind of packaged food product), it is made from GMO corn.

    The amounts of products with laboratory altered DNA we consume on a daily basis is huge, and there is nothing in place to track the possible risks or dangers.

    How many Rx drugs (with extensive scrutiny and government approval) have killed thousands and end up being recalled years later? (Celebrex anyone?). With the food we ingest, the level of scrutiny is far lower, yet these high-tech foods are ingested in much greater quantity by a much larger percentage of the population.

    We are living in a society where corporate & government interests trump pure & impartial science. Our health and our very lives hang in the balance.

    • @SkokieGuy: How many “natural and normal” foods (even though eaten by millions of others for hundreds of years) have killed thousands of people? How many people have not died because of modified food(I direct you to the man who won the Nobel prize for being credited as saving a billion lives due to the modified grains he helped develop)?

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @SkokieGuy: Well, chum, thankfully, the free market will purge errant companies – it’s magic! Pesky rules, regulations and accurate labeling – who needs ‘em?
      In fact, I’ll bet $700 billion on it!

    • Colage says:

      @SkokieGuy: How many Rx drugs (with extensive scrutiny and government approval) have killed thousands and end up being recalled years later?

      I’m not taking any position on HFCS, but at the same time, how many products have been demonized by natural foods types that aren’t actually bad for you? (Gluten, rBST, cloned foods, etc)

      I wouldn’t say that corporate and government interests are keeping down science. If a fair and impartial study came out tomorrow that said that GM foods weren’t worse for you than non-GM foods, would you believe it or dismiss it as corporate whitewashing? And besides, Whole Foods and similar retailers (including farmers’ markets) make a killing on the other side of the controversy by providing things like gluten-free food and charging a huge markup for it.

      If you want to take a moral stance, that’s fine. GM foods can have effects on the surrounding environment, and hormones may not make a cow’s life any better, but let’s not assume ill effects on humans when they haven’t been proven.

      • dorianh49 says:

        @Colage: Watch the documentary “King Corn”. They show that the particular corn used to make HFCS is genetically modified in the following ways:

        1. It’s tied to a certain brand of pesticide. You buy the grain and the pesticide together because the grain is specifically engineered to grow while sprayed with that certain pesticide.
        2. Growth. They couldn’t make the stalks grow more ears, but they engineered them to be able to grow closer together.

        The long and short of this is, by making these genetic modifications, the actual corn itself ended up being far less nutritional than the native corn that travelled up from Mexico. More starch, less protein. Straight off the stalk, eating it raw, the stuff tastes worse than sawdust. Remember when raw corn was sweet and tasty? Not this stuff.

        What doesn’t get made into HFCS gets fed to cows. Cows were never, ever, ever meant to eat corn. After 6 months on a corn diet, cows develop stomach ulcers. Another 3 months and they’re dead. Good thing they slaughter them and ground them into McDonald’s hamburger patties right before that happens, eh?

      • dorianh49 says:

        @Colage: Gluten: many people are highly allergic to it. If you’re not, don’t worry about it.
        rBST: many people don’t want to take a chance on ingesting hormones. If you don’t mind taking the chance, don’t worry about it.
        cloned foods: many people worry about the ramifications of relying on a very small genetic footprint for their food source, among other things. There’s also the whole “don’t play God with my food” attitude with some people, I guess. If you don’t mind it, don’t worry about it.

        You’re probably the kind of person who doesn’t worry about what you ingest. I didn’t worry about it before; I was young and could eat whatever and not get sick. That’s not the case anymore. Around 7 or 8 years ago, I ate fast food / processed food all the time and didn’t see it’s hand in my missing at least 2 or 3 weeks a year at work due to random, unexplainable illnesses. I now get sick once or twice every other year or so since I’ve cut as much fast food and processed food out of my diet as possible.

        Everyone is different, though, so what works for one may not work for everyone else. And that goes both ways. Researching your food a little never hurts, though :)

  7. xredgambit says:

    Research shows that if you kill one baby every 3rd full moon, you will live a longer happier life than the non baby killers.

  8. As an avid soda drinker, HFCS does not scare me, although I do try to stock up on as much non-HFCS soda as I can find only because they do taste better. (Kosher Coke, where are you?)

    • cadieg says:

      @thisisasignin: kosher coke lives at costco! at least here in NM, we can get it from mexico made with, you guessed it, actual sugar. look into big bulk stores like that. mm… kosher coke…..

      • ecwis says:

        @cadieg: Yeah I think they only sell Mexican Coke at select Costcos (areas near Mexico border). Otherwise, you can find it at Mexican grocery stores. If you don’t have one of those in the area, you’ll have to get organic Cola (Whole Foods, Blue Sky) which is made with cane sugar.

  9. Ftp1423 says:

    I’ve tried cutting HFCS out of my diet entirely. After a while you lose the craving and taste for soda. Soda is definitely a self reinforcing addition.

    • Darkkeyboard says:

      @Ftp1423: I try and cook as much for myself as possible, and even got to the point that I don’t drink juice from concentrate- but it’s literally everywhere. Last week, i thought I tasted it in my water. I drank about a gallon before I thought it might be HCFS.

    • NightSteel says:

      @Ftp1423:

      I gave up caffiene some years ago when it got to the point that, if I didn’t have some before 10 am, I would have a headache all day. I finally said enough and it was a week of headaches and being thirsty no matter how much I drank. After that, I felt better (and spent way less on soda).

  10. Not Alvis says:

    “Tw wr nvr pblshd s thy’r fndng srcs r nclr”

    Thy’r = thy r
    Thr = plrl psssv

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      @Clold: Don’t be obnoxious. As it says in the comment code, if a typo or error is made, email the editor. Posting in comments to call attention to yourself is not necessary.

      • Not Alvis says:

        @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: I don’t care about attention – I care that these posts are going up without proper editing. It’s an important concern – if simple English usage isn’t being verified, are the facts behind the posts being?

        • @Clold: Equating spelling mistakes with bad factual content is fallacious to say the least. The editors do their best to vet articles, but this is the web, and grammar and spelling errors are not always caught, even by the best of editors. I know from personal experience.

          • dougkern says:

            @NefariousNewt: Please explain what about “the web” makes it any more difficult for writers to proofread and catch grammar and spelling errors.

            Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

          • ecwis says:

            @NefariousNewt: It’s a very easy mistake to notice. I’m not even sure if Consumerist has an editor review their posts though. And this story also has misleading “factual” content.

            “So, is corn syrup bad for you? Experts do not agree, but the general consensus is that while it may not be worse for you than sugar – it’s not exactly good for you either.”

            The question isn’t whether or not corn syrup is bad but HFCS. There is a big difference.

        • warf0x0r says:

          @Clold: That’s typically why they post a link to the article. This is a blog not a research agency/firm. They just collect relevant articles and post a comment + reference and let us go at it. Sometimes they have typos.

        • trujunglist says:

          @Clold: You sure are taking the high and mighty road for someone with such terrible grammar.

  11. alynnk says:

    I read recently about a study done by the University of Texas — results have lead to the conclusion that our bodies process fructose into fat more quickly than it does glucose. So yeah, high-fructose *anything* is likely to lead to more weight gain. And like Paper said, it’s so much harder to consume anything ‘in moderation’ when it’s freakin’ *everywhere*.

  12. xredgambit says:

    I had “mexican” coke and it was good. I’m a pepsi guy personally.
    But they need to have a Cane sugar version of the soda. Maybe at a premium. Really, I’d pay extra for a made with real sugar version of a soda. Or else HFCS free sodas.
    Like Jones soda. I love them and there cane sugar only. Plus we can use the corn for fuel, not soda.
    And in all reality, this would be as close to “natural only food” status. I love me some chemicals.

    • Tiber says:

      @xredgambit: I’ve thought the same thing. I understand that companies want to make a cheap product so that it can compete, but there are some of us who would prefer to have something good over something cheap. It seems that if you want a soda without HFCS, you need to either live near mexico or have it shipped, or you need to buy some niche brand. So why can’t they just make a “premium” version of the soda?

      • BytheSea says:

        @Tiber: Try Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I’m sure they have HFCS-free like that on their shelves. And you’ll pay a ‘premium’ price. :)

    • @xredgambit: Back when I lived in Miami, there was a authentic Mexican restaurant that sold Pepsi directly from Mexico made with cane sugar. Even better, it came in glass bottles! Is it just me, or does soda tastes better in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles or aluminum cans?

      Next time I visit Miami, I’m stocking up on those babies!

    • papahoth says:

      @xredgambit: Ironic in an article talking about HFCS, you praise the empty calories of plain, white cane sugar. One soda of this a day means you should consume zero calories of added sugar the rest of the day for a healthy diet which we know is not happening. Empty calories that make you fat don’t taste better to me. Its a bitter fruit in my opinion.

  13. mike says:

    Is there a way for an industry or company to sponsor a study and not get flack for it?

    I hate HFCS as much as the next guy, but I’m skeptical of the skeptics that say that funded research is biased.

    IMO, ALL research is biased. As long as the data is available, each person can make their own conclusion. So how can companies that have a vested interest fund a study with full disclosure?

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @mike: There actually is. Funding isn’t the problem. It’s when these industry-funded studies bypass the peer-reviewed, academic-run process that credible, science-based studies use that the red flags go up.
      Another part of the process is, as you say, releasing not only the raw data, but the methodology of gathering and interpreting the data. It can’t be published (reputably) without it. The problem with just the data, however, is that each person can’t reliably sift thru the data – you need the training for how to do it correctly. But peers can – and gleefully do – review each others’ work. It’s part of the Scientific Method: built-in incentives to rigorously cross-check is built into the process. So your concerns are met! :)
      The point of these non-scientific studies, of course, is to cloud the debate AND to make lay people distrust ALL studies. Either one is a win, from their perspective.

      Not all studies are bad: just hack studies. Which this appears to be.

    • silver-bolt says:

      @mike:

      Is there a way for an industry or company to sponsor a study and not get flack for it?

      Yes…

      When the results are against that industry, and still get published.

  14. ret3 says:

    I try to avoid HFCS not out of any health-related reason (I don’t think that GM crops are necessarily bad, nor do I buy into the idea that it somehow magically makes you hungrier), but rather as a political matter. I strongly disagree with the subsidies that make widespread use of HFCS economical, and believe that the farm land devoted to this artificially profitable crop might be better used otherwise.

    • FoxCMK says:

      I agree wholeheartedly, though I admit I am a bit put off by consuming something so ridiculously unnatural as a food product put through chemical and laboratory processes that turn it into something totally different.

      Eviscerate the corn subsidy! Down with protectionism!

    • BytheSea says:

      @ret3: I’m intrigued by your ideas and wish to read your pamphlet.

      What other crops would be better devoted than corn? Do you mean, like, sugar? Why would corn be less profitable w/out subsidies?

      • ret3 says:

        @BytheSea: A more efficient and non-food biofuel crop would be nice for some of the freed-up acreage. Other parts (particularly in regions closer to major cities) might be turned over to other fruit and vegetables that would otherwise need to be shipped in from elsewhere. Without subsidies, growers would have to get a higher price to turn a profit; if the market is unwilling to pay those higher prices, (or finds lower prices elsewhere) then there’s less incentive to grow the crop.

  15. MaxSmart32 says:

    The ads aren’t false actually. They say “in moderation”. Which is key to everything. Like it has been said above, its in everything and near impossible to avoid without conscious effort!

    FAIL!

    • mike says:

      @MaxSmart32: But everything is good in moderation. They aren’t saying anything new…

      I guess its one of those situations where you need to tell people that your product isn’t as horrible as people think.

      I hate HFCS with a passion. It’s scientificly proven that it is, in fact, the Satan’s necture that, when ingested, causes you to commit adultery.

      • este says:

        @mike:

        “I guess its one of those situations where you need to tell people that your product isn’t as horrible as people think.”

        Like Vista….. yea that is a shitty position to put yourself in.

  16. AmericaTheBrave says:

    The problem with HFCS isn’t that it doesn’t send a signal to your brain that you are full. Sugar doesn’t do that either.

    The problem is that HFCS is a refined fructose. Not all sugars are processed the same way in the body.

    Glucose is metabolized by every cell in the body. Fructose is processed only by the liver, and that’s the problem.

    Fructose is corn that’s boiled down to get a syrup that’s just the corn’s sugar. It’s incredibly condensed and extremely sweet.

    The liver gets bombarded by hfcs and caused all kinds of problems. Some of the problems are it interferes with the body’s absorption of minerals. It raises cholesterol. It interferes with white blood cells and harms the immune system. But worst of all, HFCS makes the body less reactive to insulin, causing type 2 diabetes. The pancreas has to create more insulin to get the same effect and lower the body’s level of blood sugar. HFCS essentially burns out the body’s ability to use and react to insulin. And when the pancreas has to kick into overdrive to keep pumping out more insulin all the time, it can cause problems with insulin production and with the pancreas itself. It’s a giant catch 22. Less sensitivity to insulin causes the blood sugar to not be metabolized and is instead stored as fat. People who eat a diet high in HFCS become obese, which is exactly what is happening in the U.S. HFCS is in almost everything. Start reading labels. Until this past year it was almost impossible to buy bread without HFCS in it. Now there are a small handful of brands. Frozen foods, pop, prepared foods, processed foods, they all have HFCS in them.

    HFCS should be banned across the world.

    • @AmericaTheBrave: As someone who is now facing the problem of being seriously overwieght for the first time in his life, and who has a family history of diabetes, this is the kind of stuff that needs to be heard.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @AmericaTheBrave: I used to drink juice from concentrate all the time to avoid sugar. Then I got educated, read the labels and had to cross off nearly every juice off my list except for OJ, grape and apple juice. Everything else is larded up with HFCS.
      (sob) Miss my cranberry juice and lemon/limeaid the most. :(
      I can see a lot of busy moms making the same mistake as I did, which is a shame.

      • FoxCMK says:

        @Trai_Dep:

        There are cranberry juices from Ocean Spray that have a nifty little label on the front that say “No High Fructose Corn Syrup or artificial sweeteners.” Ingredients show these little labels are right-on. But maybe I’m missing something…?

        According to the ingredients listing on Martin’s potato breads, it has no HFCS. Which is awesome, because that bread tastes GREAT.

        • este says:

          @Trai_Dep:

          Easy to fix that, “Simply Lemonaid” + 50% water.

          Its too sweet on its own, but with 50% water its about perfect, and cheap. No HFCS or anything artifical

      • BlackBirdTA says:

        @Trai_Dep: Try Simply Limeade and Simply Lemonade. Made with sugar instead of HFCS. My family loves them. Really good with vodka, too.

      • Dervish says:

        @AmericaTheBrave: HFCS is not just refined fructose – it’s refined glucose as well. Sucrose and HFCS have very similar ratios of glucose and fructose. Pure fructose absolutely affects the body differently than sucrose, but I have not seen a single piece of research indicating that HFCS affects the body differently than sucrose. Here’s one ([www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]) that found no difference in resulting blood glucose or insulin levels when subjects were fed sucrose versus HFCS.

        Could you post your sources?

      • BytheSea says:

        @Trai_Dep: I’m sure you could find a recipe to make lemon/limeaid yourself, it’s just water, sugar and juice. You can buy lemon and lime juice in concentrate (no sugar, just juice – it’s for cooking).

  17. chrisjames says:

    The Corn Refiners Association released another commercial this week targeted at moms. The association says it’s not interested in driving up consumption of HFCS.

    Who believes this shit? Corn Refiners Association People, are you saying you’re not in the business of selling your product, but will aggressively defend it anyway? Yeah, it’s just a pride thing, sure.

  18. CedricEagle says:

    MEG: You are confusing TWO DIFFERENT things here: Corn Syrup and HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (HFCS). No one has anything bad to say about corn syrup. HFCS, on the other hand, has incredibly strong correlation with the obesity epidemic. (Amazing, for example, how people drank 6 oz Cokes before HFCS, but 44 oz Cokes since.)

  19. Jevia says:

    I’m convinced that its HFCS that has caused the obesity epidemic in this country. This is why we are overweight and most other countries are not. This is why we are overweight in the 21st century, when we weren’t (at least as much) 30 years ago. It really is in everything and difficult to buy without it. One really has to go back to cooking from scratch to try and limit HFCS in your food.

  20. Gopher bond says:

    Here’s my take: I don’t care about what HFCS does or does not do to my body. Cane sugar tastes better than HFCS, period. Cane sugar soda is fantastic as is homemade applesauce with cane sugar. Everything is better with cane sugar. My beef is that everything WOULD be made with cane sugar if the Govenrment didn’t subsidize corn and put tariffs on sugar. The Government is making things less tasty, damnit! That should be the #1 issues in the election.

    • papahoth says:

      @testsicles: The government has cane sugar protection in place too. That is why the Everglades are dying. Cane sugar is not fantastic for your health.

  21. MrFrankenstein says:

    One would have to be pretty dim (or suicidal) to be eating much of what is in the standard US citizens average diet.

    The vast high incidence of obesity and a staggering range of cancers, far in excess of anywhere else in the world, keeps me contentedly on a diet of primarily fresh vegetables and fresh fruit.

    I don’t eat anything with HFCS – or for that matter, any sugars, sweeteners, or MSG, or any of the clearly toxic combinations that pass for ‘food’ in America.

    Most US food is greasy carcinogenic sludge – it may look pretty, sure – and may taste to the undeveloped palate like something ‘tasty’ – but thats just the chemical art of food technologists in action.

  22. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Those trying to avoid it by cutting out soda/juices have to realize that it comes in a powdered form as well. I noticed that it is included in salad-dressing mix powders, soup mixes, etc, as well, not just in liquid products. You’ll find it in bread, in canned vegetables, even in peanut butter.

  23. failurate says:

    Is funding for research from those who stand to profit from favorable research results impossible to avoid?

    Who besides those who develope and produce a product would give enough of a damn about a product to pay someone else to research it? How much corn syrup research would be done if the corn syrup companies didn’t pay to research it? The only other company with a financial interest in researching corn syrup is equally or more so biased, their competitors.

    • chrisjames says:

      @failurate: Consumer groups, if they have the money. They have their biases too, though. Technically, you could call what CBS did research. It cost them to do it, albeit relatively little, and their bias is to draw in an audience with sensation and scandal.

  24. uberbucket says:

    HFCS: The Browning Reaction.
    “The browning reaction occurs when certain carb molecules bind with proteins and cause aging. It’s also called ‘glycation’, ‘glycosylation’, and sometimes the Maillard reaction. It changes the structure of enzymes and other proteins, resulting in tissue and organ damage (and it’s suspected in organ damage particularly in diabetics).”

    According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the browning reaction occurs with any sugar, but with fructose it happens seven times faster than it does with glucose.

    HFCS starts out as cornstarch, which is chemically or enzymatically degraded to glucose (and some short polymers of glucose). Another enzyme is then used to convert varying fractions of glucose into fructose. What amazes me is that even with all this processing, HFCS is still cheaper to make than good ole sugar.

    I rarely drink soft drinks but when I do I make sure it’s one that uses 100% cane sugar for sweetening like Hansen’s.

    • palookapalooza says:

      @uberbucket: Uh, the Malliard reaction occurs when the substance in question is applied to high heat (about 310° F). This doesn’t occur in the body. Wiki source

      • uberbucket says:

        @palookapalooza:
        Uh, from the very wiki source you just referenced:
        “The Maillard reaction also occurs in the human body. It is a step in the formation of advanced glycation endproducts.”

        • palookapalooza says:

          @uberbucket: Noted. It pays to read the entire article…

        • Dervish says:

          @uberbucket: “but with fructose it happens seven times faster than it does with glucose.”

          But HFCS is not pure fructose, and sucrose is not pure glucose. Sucrose is a disaccharide made up of one molecule each of glucose and fructose. HFCS contains nearly the same ratio of glucose to fructose: 58 to 42, or 45 to 55, depenging on the type.

          I’d be interested in knowing the relative rates of Maillard browning between sucrose and HFCS, but comparing the rates of glucose and fructose is irrelevant in this case.

  25. Robobot says:

    I’m noticing a lot more people complaining of adverse reactions to HFCE lately, my mom included. They aren’t allergic to corn and they’re not diabetic or anything, they just get headaches and sometimes stomach aches from it. Since I’m no medical researcher I don’t know what that exactly means, but it’s worth remembering. Maybe it’s the chemical processing or something.

    Even if HFCS is “only” as bad for one as sugar; that possibility alone should make people limit their HFCS consumption. What a great excuse to cut down on all sugary food!

    Not that it isn’t okay to indulge every once in a while. Lord knows what I would do without the very occasional HFCS-filled or sugary treat.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @Quietly: Keep in mind that the corn that makes HFCS contains modified DNA. One example is that the corn has genes inserted making it herbacide / pesticide resistant. (This allows farmers to more cheaply spray their fields to reduce weeds and pests, not having to worry if the chemicals get on the corn plants, it won’t kill them).

      Since HFCS is highly concentrated, so is any pesticide residue and so is the altered genes. Your mother could easily be getting sick from ingesting these items. Also, if your mother takes medications (or herbs or supplements, what if the gene that reduces the plant’s suseptibility to herbicides and pesticides interacts with her meds?

      • chrisjames says:

        @SkokieGuy: Sugars in general, HFCS included, are known to cause health issues like frequent headaches or stomach aches. This is more likely to happen as you get older or as you consume more sugars. Since American sugar consumption is probably increasing (no thanks to HFCS in high quantities in damned near everything), and since you’re getting older by the second, it’s probably just a change in metabolism and diet doing it. Eating less sugar overall, including HFCS and sweeteners, would be wiser than getting fired up over corn conspiracy theories.

      • papahoth says:

        @SkokieGuy: How about you provide some scientific evidence before you start spouting stuff like this? Pretty big statements with no evidence to support it. We call that chicanery where I come from.

  26. SavitriPleiades says:

    What if the HFCS industry sponsored 10 studies, but 9 of them found results that showed HFCS had obvious negative health consequences? You think they might push to have the one positive study published, while keeping the other 9 under wraps? If you make your own conclusions on the basis of this one study, your conclusions are wrong, but you’ll never know it.

  27. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    Don’t Drink The Final Solution

  28. frari489 says:

    I’m a health researcher at the NIH in Bethesda and when I first saw these advertisements I decided to do a little literature research of my own.

    From what I have read it seems that HFSC is ok in moderation (like they say), but the problem is that HFSC seems to be put it into just about everything we eat (which they ignore).

    Stay away from sugary foods and eat healthy is always the best bet.

  29. krunklekick says:

    The problems with corn go deeper than just HFCS. I encourage everyone to read “The Omnivores Dilemma”, a great book about everything related to corn. Or if reading isn’t your thing, rent the movie “King Corn”, a documentary based on the book.

  30. Geoff says:

    Who cares? Sweet food tastes good.

    Also, if you’re a person avoiding HFCS, you’re probably avoiding sugary and fatty foods anyway. People who eat food with HFCS know it’s bad for you. I know soft drinks are bad for me. I know candy and cake is bad too. But I eat it anyway. These commercials do nothing.

    It’s like cotton being advertised. “Buy cotton!” Who cares? If I like a shirt, I’ll buy it, regardless of the fabric used.

    Advertising generic substances is silly.

  31. katbur2 says:

    I’m not too worried about HFCS. I’m already fat and I’ve already had cancer. I just HATE!!! those commercials, they make me crazy. [www.aftercancernowwhat.wordpress.com]

  32. Outrun1986 says:

    I can limit my HFCS consumption but unfortunately its nearly impossible to avoid it completely especially if you want to purchase reasonably priced food. The main source of HFCS for me is cereal, I like cereal too much to give it up for some other breakfast food (that probably also has HFCS in it). I don’t drink non-diet soda or juices so thats not a problem for me. I can see many moms being naive about this though, juices are marketed as good for your kids but in reality they are just huge amounts of sugar, and could possibly be even worse than non-diet soda. I did find a lot of HFCS in yogurt however that was easily eliminated by buying a different kind of yogurt. If you check the ingredients on products you buy sometimes you can pick an alternate product that doesn’t have HFCS in it. I am just trying to watch my HFCS consumption for my own health, face it people this stuff is bad for you. Its likely a major factor in the obesity epidemic, along with other things of course.

  33. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Do you remember when you were able to take a peanut butter sandwich to school for lunch? I do. It was the protein of choice. I can recall some days where it would be part of three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and after school snack). I also remember that hearing about someone allergic to peanuts was a real rarity. But today I can’t think of a k-8 school that permits peanuts in any form on the property, complete ban. There have been discussions on Consumerist about peanut bans on airplanes. Peanut by-products were once a big thing as a additive in other foods.

    Today corn and corn products are everywhere in the food chain. It is in every meal you have eaten in the last 10 years. Exception being of course those of you living in a cabin in the mountains catching and growing all your own food and food products, nothing from the outside world. Corn is in all animal feed, process food thickeners, sweeteners, etc. etc…

    So what is the world going to look like when we start giving birth to kids who are allergic to corn?

    • tmed says:

      @GreatWhiteNorth:

      My son take peanut butter to school (4th Grade) 3 out of every 5 days. It is a standard public school. Peanut based snacks are disallowed in classes with a child with a sever peanut allergy, but no one is disallowed from taking peanut products to schhol. There is no such ban at any school in the area (NE Ohio).

      • TracyHamandEggs says:

        @tmed: None that I know of in Maryland or PA either. Notices go out to not include it in made-for-the-class snacks, but otherwise Ive seen no bans.

        The “evidence” of it being more common or severe is all anecdotal. My guess its more that airlines/businesses/schools are so afraid of being sued that they react by banning stuff.

        I remember having a friend in school who was allergic to gluten. He or his mother were quick to notify everyone, he knew what he was not allowed to eat, and his mother provided alternate snacks for class/birthday parties. These days people don’t want to take that much personal responsibility and would rather just have the schools/business ban everything

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @GreatWhiteNorth: i read a blog about bentos and the author has a child in a preschool with numerous food restrictions. she details what her son isn’t allowed to bring to school here

      [lunchinabox.net]

      which includes ANY kind of nuts or nut products [not just peanuts], milk and yogurt.

    • papahoth says:

      @GreatWhiteNorth: We don’t know that there is more peanut allergies. When I was born they didn’t know what an allergy was (1959). When babies mysteriously died, its very possible that nursing mothers eating peanuts was the problem. It might even be a reason for SIDs today since the must nurse lobby has given no consideration to allergies passed on by the food nursing mothers eat.

  34. Sarah of Get Cooking says:

    Regardless of any unknown health issues, there are environmental problems with the HFCS is produced that I think are worth paying attention to as well.

    [www.washingtonpost.com]

    Corn is such a big industry in our country and whether you care about genetic modification or organic produce, the fact that most corn crops aren’t rotated and deplete soil nutrients is pretty disturbing.

    So to those eye-rollers in the HFCS commercials, there are problems with HFCS, not just consuming it, but producing it and purchasing it as well.

    • papahoth says:

      @sc2373: The environment problems for corn are nothing compared to sugar cane. We are close to destroying the Everglades and anything natural in south Florida due to cane growing.

  35. dj_skilz says:

    Well I for one have nothing personal against HCFS. I am not a scientist, so I cannot conclusively make a claim for or against it.

    What bothers me is the way it has infiltrated almost every staple in the American food Chain. Couple this with the subsidies and the heavy push (new ads, etc) by the AgriCorps.

    I get the inherit feeling we are being fed a fat lie, and that more testing needs to be done on the metabolic breakdown of this substance.

    Going strictly off my taste buds, cane sugar wins hands down.

    Something else worth noting is the increased removal of Cane Sugar from grocery shelves in favor of beet sugar.

  36. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    Something that comes from vegetables in the ground vs something cooked up with chemicals in a lab. Hmm tough choice.

    • Dervish says:

      @got no clutch? You ain’t much.: Have you ever read about sugar refining from beets? It’s as much laboratory processing as HFCS production is.

      From Wikipedia:
      “First, the juice is mixed with hot milk of lime (a suspension of calcium hydroxide in water). This treatment precipitates a number of impurities, including multivalent anions such as sulfate, phosphate, citrate and oxalate, which precipitate as their calcium salts and large organic molecules such as proteins, saponins and pectins, which aggregate in the presence of multivalent cations. In addition, the alkaline conditions convert the simple sugars, glucose and fructose, along with the amino acid glutamine, to chemically stable carboxylic acids. Left untreated, these sugars and amines would eventually frustrate crystallization of the sucrose.

      Next, carbon dioxide is bubbled through the alkaline sugar solution, precipitating the lime as calcium carbonate (chalk). The chalk particles entrap some impurities and absorb others. A recycling process builds up the size of chalk particles and a natural flocculation occurs where the heavy particles settle out in tanks (clarifiers). A final addition of more carbon dioxide precipitates more calcium from solution; this is filtered off, leaving a cleaner golden light brown sugar solution called thin juice.”

      How does that sound better than using enzymes to convert corn starch to HFCS?

  37. reverendskinner says:

    I love corn syrup, it’s like sugar, but better. Like how crack is like cocaine, but better.

    In all seriousness though, I doubt this stuff that I fill my face with every day can possibly be good for me, but it tastes good, and the oldest people I know are the kind of people who’ve gone through their entire lives doing everything that made them feel good, regardless of how good for them it was supposed to be. So, I guess hedonism is the real winner.

    For now, I think I’ll enjoy my afternoon Dr. Pepper(s) and offset any health side-effects with excessive exercise. It’s worked so far.

  38. trillium says:

    There are enough cited examples of why NOT to devour a dose of HCFS. Throw in your sucralose warnings and your aspartame labeling and you have to wonder why people don’t just stick with good old sugar. There has been no study of the long term toxicity of the cocktail of chemicals we are being served up in pretty much anything that is pre-packaged.

    • papahoth says:

      @trillium: “Aspartame tastes very similar to sugar but is 200 times sweeter. Other names include Nutrasweet, Equal, and Sugar Twin (blue box). Aspartame is often the subject of stories in the popular press that claim the product causes a variety of health problems. According to the FDA, aspartame is the most thoroughly tested food additive and studies confirm that it is safe for the general population. However, aspartame should not be used by people who have the rare hereditary disease phenylketonuria.”

  39. jenn7110 says:

    According to some Australian friends of mine, their diet in general is very similar to the American diet. Until relatively recently, obesity was not epidemic for the Aussies. Until a few years ago, they did not have HFCS. Now, about 5-7 years after the introduction of HFCS, when it has permeated everything (much like here), they have an obesity epidemic. HFCS aside, the diet remains much the same. That’s enough to convince me that HFCS is bad for you, and has something to do with weight gain.

  40. ecwis says:

    I have noticed that I almost completely abstain from HFCS now as a result of those Pro-HFCS commercials. I used to drink Coke about everyday and now I will only drink it about three or four times a month.

    Their Pro-HFCS commercials encouraged me to go online and research HFCS and what I found scared me somewhat so now I do my best to avoid it. I wonder how many users they’ve lost due to this campaign…

  41. nyaz says:

    Finishes his McDonald’s Number 1(Big-Mac for you unimformed). Wait what’s bad now? I actually lost a ton of weight and was really unhealthy when I used to drink Soda’s and HFC drinks almost exclusively. Now most of my soda intake is the Whole Foods kind, no HFC there. Unless I have to eat fast food like I am now, rassa frassin work making me stay late.

  42. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    regarding the fact that many commenters are saying that HFCS is in EVERYTHING… i got curious and did a little experiment on my personal space. some of these things i am not surprised about – but several of them i am VERY surprised about. makes me wonder how the corn syrup people pimp their sweet sticky stuff to the test kitchens and R&D folks.

    i’ll get this out of the way up front – i am just plain not going to respond to any comments about why the following items are on my desk at work – i keep a lot of food at my desk and share it with my coworkers. preserved foods for storage purposes. let’s not make a big deal out of food choices, aren’t we all grown ups here?

    things within easy reach that contain HFCS:

    arby’s sauce AND arby’s horsey sauce
    campbell’s tomato soup
    capri sun sport drink
    cvs tropical sensations throat lozenges
    franco american tomato soup
    heinz tomato ketchup
    keebler honey grahams
    keebler vanilla wafers
    keebler vienna fingers cookies
    lucky leaf apple sauce
    nabisco saltines
    nutri-grain cereal bars
    pampa apple granola bars
    pampa oat & honey granola bars
    pop tarts strawberry
    smuckers strawberry jelly
    spaghettios
    vienna sausage
    **[also contains the ominous phrase 'mechanically separated chicken, beef and pork']

    … why is there HFCS in my saltines? i mean… flour, yeast, salt….. HFCS?!?!?!

    there ARE food things at my desk that don’t contain HFCS but no one wants me to turn this short story into a novel

    • crackers says:

      @catastrophegirl: I had this same moment recently with my Wheat Thins. WHY is there HFCS in my Wheat Thins? Why?! So sad.

      The fact that I can’t significantly cut my intake of HFCS by just reducing my consumption of candy and cake makes me crazy.

  43. sonneillon says:

    I found that I dropped 15 pounds just from when I stopped drinking pop. I dropped another 10 pounds from moving away from most processed foods. The other 25 pounds I dropped came from acupuncture, exercise and better dietary habits.

  44. dragonfire81 says:

    Personally I just find products made with real sugar taste better, that’s why I try as best I can to avoid buying products that contain HFCS, particularly when it comes to fruit juices.

    I also don’t drink soft drinks, which is a HUGE help to keep my HFCS intake down.

  45. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    So readily available food, lack of desire or need to exercise, and static forms of entertainment (television, computers, etc.) have nothing to do with obesity?

    Sounds like HFCS is a cop out.

  46. AmoretteKnukka says:

    I agree with what you are saying about prescription drugs, and there are a lot of reasons to be concerned with corporate agriculture, but GMO foods are simply not one of them. I get frustrated every time I see people protesting “frankenfoods” on TV because there is so little reasoning behind their fear. It’s based solely on a gut reaction when they hear about genetic engineering. The truth is that every single domesticated plant is already drastically different from its relatives in the wild. Corn is so different that scientists weren’t even sure what its wild ancestor was until recently. That means its DNA has been altered (scary!!) by artificial selection by humans. The gene splicing methods used to produce GMO crops are very different from artificial selection, but still amount to nothing more than changing a small part of the plant’s DNA. As far as I know, no one has been able to come up with any reason why this should be dangerous. If it resulted in the plants producing a poison, it would be pretty obvious, because you would get sick after eating it. I don’t know of any biological poisons that can cause damage to your body by chronic exposure. Examples of things that do that would be heavy metals or asbestos, which obviously cannot be produced by a plant. So if you don’t get sick right after eating it, that’s it, the food is not going to do any more damage than non-GMO foods you eat.

    A more realistic concern is with the effects of GMO foods on the environment, but compared with the other environmental catastrophes that humans have been responsible for (deforestation, global warming, invasive species…) it’s hard to imagine they really do that much damage, and if they result in more efficient agriculture, the benefits might outweigh the risks.

  47. Finine says:

    I agree that HFCS is a big part of America’s obesity epidemic. Since Coke is being discussed in detail here, I am throwing out my own conspiracy theory – I think Coca-Cola’s switch to “New Coke” in 1985 was simply a big red herring for them to switch to HFCS as a sweetener at the same time they returned “Old Coke” to the shelves.

    [en.wikipedia.org]

    On April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola, amid much publicity, attempted to change the formula of the drink with “New Coke.” Follow-up taste tests revealed that most consumers preferred the taste of New Coke to both Coke and Pepsi. Coca-Cola management was unprepared, however, for the nostalgic sentiments the drink aroused in the American public. The new Coca-Cola formula caused a public backlash. Protests caused the company to return to the old formula under the name Coca-Cola Classic on July 10, 1985.

    There is also some concern regarding the usage of high fructose corn syrup in the production of Coca-Cola. Since 1985 in the U.S., Coke has been made with high fructose corn syrup, instead of sugar glucose or fructose, to reduce costs. This has come under criticism because of concerns that the corn used to produce corn syrup may come from genetically altered plants.[59] Some nutritionists also caution against consumption of high fructose corn syrup because of possible links to obesity and type-2 diabetes.[60]

    As an aside, I do not drink soft drinks but how does Old Coke made with sugar differ in taste from the current Coke sweetened with HFCS?

  48. Ingenium says:

    This is what I find stupid about the whole HFCS commercials: they laugh at the people who have NO IDEA! what they are talking about they just think its bad for you, and then they stupidly say “ITS MADE FROM CORN ITS GOOD FOR YOU!”. Theeeen as if they were a cigarette commercial with 4 of 5 doctors telling me to smoke, the dumb broad is telling me “EVERY THING IS GOOD IN MODERATION! TEE HEE!”

    Here is the flaw in all of those idiotic arguments. when was the last time you turned something around in food and DID NOT see High Fructose Corn Syrup as one of the ingredients? Hell, if you were low income and all you could afford to shop was at wal mart, you’d be lucky not to find HFCS in the fucking produce. For chrissakes why the hell do you need HFCS, or any sugar for that matter in fucking bread?! Somebody please answer that for me! Yeah everything’s good in moderation but we’re getting it in massive quantities because it is in all of our fucking food! Everything has HFCS, even the preservatives are derived from HFCS or off a corn based substances; Its fucking sickening.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @Ingenium: eh, technically sugar in bread is important – it’s yeast food and that’s how bread made with yeast rises – yeast eats sugar: gives off gas [yes, bread dough is made with yeast farts.] i suppose HFCS would be effective yeast food also – but i personally don’t think it SHOULD be

  49. But cane sugar is grown by dirty commies in Cuba, so we can’t have any part of that nonsense.

  50. I don’t remember where I saw a chart that shows the increase of obesity in America and another chart that shows the increase of HFCS use in foods. You couldn’t tell which one was which.

    • papahoth says:

      @postnocomments: So? That proves? There is a much higher correlation in the decline in smoking rates and weight gain. And scientific evidence that shows why that would be so. There is no, as in zero evidence, of HFCS causing obesity.

      • Ingenium says:

        @papahoth: Really?

        I just found an article from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition saying the consumption of HFCS increased 1000% from 1970 to 1990, far exceeding the changes from any other food group. Not only that, the abstract states:

        “The increased use of HFCS in the United States mirrors the rapid increase in obesity. The digestion, absorption, and metabolism of fructose differ from those of glucose. Hepatic metabolism of fructose favors de novo lipogenesis. In addition, unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin production. Because insulin and leptin act as key afferent signals in the regulation of food intake and body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased energy intake and weight gain. Furthermore, calorically sweetened beverages may enhance caloric overconsumption. Thus, the increase in consumption of HFCS has a temporal relation to the epidemic of obesity, and the overconsumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.”

        [www.ajcn.org]

        This was done with a simple google search (although it didn’t help that the first link was the corn refiner’s propaganda web site).

        Zero evidence?

        • papahoth says:

          @Ingenium: “suggests and may” are not evidence. Do you have a study that links the two? With so many forces wanting to say that, where is the study that does that? You know, on real humans?

          • Ingenium says:

            @papahoth: “suggest and may” are more evidence than none, also you have to use those words more often than not in a journal article due to the fact that you are working on a hypothesis and a theory rather than a law or a natural occurrence.

            Regardless, that journal article used statistics and passed experimentation with real humans.

      • @papahoth: I imagine that there were a lot of kids smoking according to your claim, since a quarter of kids today are obese.

        • papahoth says:

          @postnocomments: Well actually there are. We had a smoking lounge in our high school. But I never claimed that. Kids are more correlated to TVs in their own room, video games, lack of outside activities.

  51. outsdr says:

    Sounds like there needs to be “triple-blind” testing these days … the third blind is that no one knows who is sponsoring the test, so that it can’t influence the results.