By now you’ve certainly seen the sickeningly sweet Corn Refiners Association ad campaign touting the virtues of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
“It’s fine in moderation,” the hip mom says to the other, hopelessly uninformed, mom when she cringes at the fake juice that the hip mom is about to serve up to the kids.
“It’s made from corn,” the fresh-faced giggling young woman tells her silly boyfriend when he refuses to take a bite of her frozen corn-syrup pop.
So, wait, HFCS is natural and perfectly safe for my family and me? Phew.
Yeah…not so fast.
In a head-to-head test, researchers compared the effects of fructose—widely used as HFCS in processed foods and soft drinks—against those of glucose on the maturing fat cells of children. What they found must surely have the corn refiners sweating bullets and their HCFS spin doctors sharpening their pencils and working overtime.
The fat cells that were exposed to the fructose reacted very differently than the ones exposed to normal glucose. More of them became belly (viscera) fat cells. And the fructose made the cells less able to respond to insulin.
The devastating impact that these HFCS-induced changes will have over the long term is truly frightening. Carrying around that extra insulin-resistant belly fat is setting our kids up for a lifetime of poor health, including a much higher risk of developing heart disease and Type II diabetes.
And, of course, I haven’t even touched on the impact the stuff has already had on our nation’s health.
About forty years ago, HFCS first started to trickle into our food supply. By the early 1980s, it was in virtually every soft drink on the market and was finding its way into foods ranging from breakfast cereal to pizza. With obesity and diabetes now reaching all-time highs, it’s not hard to start connecting the dots.
The damage this poison has done to our health is staggering. And no $30 million marketing blitz is going to change that. The tide may finally be turning, but we have to be vigilant in our label reading to keep this stuff out of our homes and out of our children’s developing bodies.
The Corn Refiners Association tells us that we’ll be “in for a sweet surprise” when we learn the facts about high-fructose corn syrup. You’d better make that a sweet…and deadly…surprise, guys.
Personally, I’m calling for an end to death by sweet tooth.
The Endocrine Society’s 92’nd Annual Meeting, June 20,2010, San Diego