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03/29/2007: "The High Fructose Corn Syrup Conspiracy"

Music: Fugazi
Mood: tinfoil hat time

The other day I was at the supermarket and picked up a loaf of what purported to be "100% whole wheat bread." As is my custom, I checked to see if indeed it was made with 100% whole wheat flour. It was, but my eyes wandered for once to the other ingredients. Not too far down the list was high fructose corn syrup? WTF? What the hell was high fructose corn syrup doing in food that called itself "healthy?"

The next product I needed was some spaghetti sauce. All the non-organic spaghetti sauces contained high fructose corn syrup as well! I immediately went to the aluminum foil aisle and made myself a tinfoil hat. What was going on here at the supermarket? Everywhere I looked I realized that I had been ingesting high fructose corn syrup. I knew that it was in mass-produced junk food like soda, candy bars, cookies, and breakfast cereal, but whole wheat bread and spaghetti sauce?

High fructose corn syrup began to be introduced into the above-mentioned American junk food in the mid '70s- mid '80s, which, oddly enough, is about the same time that obesity and diabetes rates began to climb in this country. If you are interested in further reading on this subject, the Corn Refiners Association wants to assure you, the American consumer, that there is absolutely nothing to worry about and that high fructose corn syrup is totally safe. Here is a 2004 article from The San Francisco Chronicle about high fructose corn syrup. I tried to find an anti-high fructose corn syrup article that was written by a doctor or was based off of a scientific study but those proved to be harder to find.

For me, personally, this discovery has prompted me to be more careful when I go to the supermarket. I can't afford to eat an all-organic diet, but I can certainly afford to make my own food from scratch. When you buy a whole chicken, you know you are just eating, well, chicken. Same goes for buying vegetables and making your own stew instead of buying a tin of it. I also bought the ingredients while I was at the grocery store to make my own spaghetti sauce, because I sure don't have any high fructose corn syrup in the cabinet. Then again, sometimes you just have an inexplicable craving for a soda or a candy bar. Sure there's all sorts of things out there that may or may not be slowly killing us but that is the price we pay to live in these interesting times. Stay alert and keep your tinfoil hat and a towel with you at afnordll times.

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