Last week, I was invited to sit in on a panel discussion hosted by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) regarding High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). With all the negative press HFCS has received in the past year or so, the CRA apparently is trying to do some damage control.
There were a couple of doctors and a couple of dietitians, all bent on convincing the audience (consisting of mommy bloggers such as yours truly) that HFCS is no worse for you than plain ole’ table sugar. In fact, some other forms of sugar are even sweeter than HFCS. On their website, they write, “Sugar is sugar whether it comes from corn, cane, beets, or bees. All are safe and natural. Your body can’t tell the difference between them.”
We were treated to molecular diagrams, multisyllabic words, and scientific reasoning, all of which sounded perfectly plausible. While I was firmly in the “No HFCS” camp prior to the call, I am now willing to entertain the idea that HFCS might not be the total evil we have been led to believe that it is.
Isn’t it kind of like saying that drunk driving after taking a few shots of whiskey isn’t any worse than doing so after downing the same amount of vodka?
Or a menthol cigarette isn’t going to make you any deader than a non-menthol?
Or french fries from McD’s aren’t any worse for you than french fries from Burger King?
After all, we all know we, as a nation, are overweight. (In fact, one of the dietitians said, “We eat about 25% more overall than we did 25 years ago.” I am sure that includes more sugar — in all its forms.)
My point is this. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a dietitian. But I do have a brain, and my brain says:
-Don’t trust any “science” whose bills are being paid by someone with a vested interest in the outcome.
-Sugar as a whole isn’t so good for you. So whether HFCS is “better,” “worse,” or “the same as” regular sugar is a moot point for me. Sugar’s sugar, and too much of it isn’t good for you. Period.
-The closer we can eat to the way our grandparents ate, the better off we’re going to be.
So, I’ve got to say that I’m still on the hunt for eliminating added HFCS — AND SUGAR IN GENERAL — from my family’s diet.
What about you?
P.S. In exchange for writing this post, I was offered a $50 gift card from the CRA. I have turned it down. I did, however, win a $15 gift card “door prize” during the actual panel discussion. I’m taking that one in exchange for the horrible flashbacks I had to Organic Chemistry in college. It was a painful time for me…Tweet