Wednesday, February 4, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup in Moderation

Recently there has been commercials airing on television about High Fructose Corn Syrup and how anything in moderation is good for you. Therefore, the commercial is ensuring the consumer that high fructose corn syrup is not bad but indeed good for you as long as you consume it moderately. That is the just of that commercial. What is very disturbing about that commercial is how disillusioned that concept is. When you think about it, every thing you do, should be done in moderation and never to the extreme. Whether it's exercising, smoking, alcohol consumption, or eating foods that aren't healthy for you, never over indulge. But in American culture, we tend to do just that; over indulge. The reason for that are the advertisements and commercials/media that bombard our lives on a daily basis; like the one I just described along with countless others that encourage the average consumer to want to over indulge. For example, it used to be that the size of an average hamburger was no bigger than the palm size of an adults hand. That is the same for a bagel. The average serving size of a soft drink was less than eight ounces than a glass of water. Today, soft drinks are bought and sold in an eight, twelve, sixteen, and twenty ounces of individual servings. Therefore, moderation is not in the American culture. American culture has been conditioned to want more, bigger, larger etc.As consumers we want the deals that provide more for our dollar such as buying two great big roast beef sandwiches for $5.00 plus a side order of curly fries, twenty ounce soft drink and a desert included (can you think of the fast food commercial that offers that). We want to ride around in the biggest vehicles like the Hummer's, Escalades, Ford F150's etc. In our culture, we are conditioned to want more, bigger and better. I can think of one state that comes to mind that over emphasizes that concept of over indulgence. That State is Texas. There is another problem or disillusion with the concept of "within moderation", and that is consumption. How can that commercial depict that high fructose corn syrup is good for you as long as you practice moderation when practically every thing you buy or consume has corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in it?
Have you ever gone grocery shopping and actually read the ingredients that are on the product packages. I've been an avid ingredient reader for over 20 years and I can tell you that over 80% of products that i've read has corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup as their main ingredient or general ingredient; from breads to cereals, pastries to snacks, crackers, sauces, pickled products to condements which includes dressings. This is where consumers are disillusioned. I've learned how to read them and what some of the chemical-techno terminology means. For example, MSG stands for monosodium glutamate, Disodium is another form of salt and when reading ingredient's, the higher the ingredient is in the listing the more of it there is in the product and the lower the ingredient is in the listing the less of it there is in the product. So, if high fructose corn syrup is the second ingredient by which is considered a 'main ingredient' in the listed ingredient's, the more of it is in the product. The further down on the list an ingredient is, it is considered a general ingredient. I can honestly say, as I was teaching myself how to read and understand ingredient listings, it took me over 3 hours to do grocery shopping. It was getting to be so bad that I dreaded going grocery shopping. But, it was very important to me that I buy healthy and I did not want high fructose corn syrup in any products that I know I will consume. Practically every product had corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in it. The products included name brand products as well as your store brand. So why is high fructose corn syrup not good for you thus a disillusion?
High fructose corn syrup comes from the corn. Corn is naturally sweet. The corn is highly processed down to liquid form call syrup thus extracting all of its natural and healthy nutrients out leaving just the syrup that is highly sweet hence the name High Fructose Corn Syrup. Consuming this form of the corn poses health issues such as diabetes's, high caloric intake which transforms into fat thus increased weight gain, I have been told that it is addictive to leaving you wanting more of the product that it's in ( I have no actual data to back that up, I am only going by my experience as well as others). In my early college years before I was into health conscious practices, I used to eat highly sweetened foods as a staple like Cap'n Crunch, Chef Boy ar dee Ravioli by the cans. I found myself consuming so much of it that I would help myself until I consumed all of it in one day. That is what I mean by addictive. It was not allowing my brain to register that i'm full because of the sweetness hence the constant indulgence. Corn in its natural state is good for you. Even when it's processed to create other products such as corn meal, corn starch, grits, kernals, pop corn etc. During those processes, the nutrients aren't extracted as much. I am totaly against that version of sugar than any other version and believe me there are plenty that are much better for you than corn syrup.
In essence, commercials that advertise moderation in a society that is conditioned to over indulge is truly dissillusioned and thus effects all consumers. To tell an American consumer to consume but with moderation is like seeing a duck swim without water. Our culture is conditioned to want more and more is what we get especially when it is offered to us in deals where we can stretch our all mighty dollar. To want more is to over indulge hence lack of moderation. High fructose corn syrup is no different that the other over indulgences that we do as Americans when it comes to our health and well being. So, stop the disillusions.

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