Sunday, March 8, 2009

Misconceptions About Corn Syrup? NOT!

Talk about vigilance. Kudos to Audrae Erikson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, for spotting a single negative reference to high fructose corn syrup in a four page local newspaper (The Transcript: Elf Parlor Pouring Local Brews: ”We want everything to be as fresh and as healthy as possible. We don't use high-fructose corn syrup.")

But that is what lobbyists and political action committees are paid to do- protect the financial and political interests, and public perception and image, of their clients, huge Agra-businesses such as Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, etc.

Erickson’s response, in my opinion, is misleading. The AMA stamp of approval has nothing to do with either public health or safety, and high fructose corn syrup is not benign.

Contrary to popular belief, the AMA is not a benevolent group of wise grey-haired doctors looking out for the health of Americans. The AMA is a political action committee dedicated to protecting the financial interests and political influence of its members.

Their history is rather appalling and finds them on the wrong side of many public health issues.

Working with the tobacco industry, they actively endorsed cigarettes and smoking, contributing to untold disease, subsequent medical interventions and deaths related to COPD and lung cancer. In another mega-boon to Agra-business, they advocated the use of margarine and vegetable oil products associated with trans-fats, over butter and other natural animal fats, contributing to untold diseases, medical management and deaths related to cardiovascular disease and cancer. And, most recently, they have frightened the public out of the sun and advocated massive use of sun block  largely contributing to the current pandemic vitamin D deficiency, that according to recent studies is associated with an increased risk ‘in all-cause mortality (deaths of all causes).’

Among other things, the AMA also vehemently opposed Medicare coverage for Americans over the age of 65, and all attempts at health care reform to date. The AMA has been found guilty in the Supreme Court, on at least two occasions, of violation of the Sherman Anti-trust Act for restraint of trade, trying to monopolize the field of health care. And more.

I suspect their recent endorsement of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) will be found to be yet another misguided AMA position statement detrimental to public health leading to diseases requiring life-long medical management.

At, ’the site devoted to answering your questions and providing factual information about high fructose corn syrup,’ one can access studies with titles and conclusions such as: “Frequent soft-drink consumption does not lead to higher obesity rate.” (And my 87 year old mother is poised to win the Tour de France)

First of all, in terms of studies, there is a great saying: “Tell me who’s asking the questions, and I’ll tell you what answers they want.’

This study includes such stunning statements as: “In consideration with other factors that potentially influence obesity occurrence as indicated in the risk analysis, the noted frequent SSB (sugar-sweetened beverages) intake in obese adults was not sufficient to be a significant factor for elevating obesity risk.” In other words, if you are obese and frequently drink soda, it does not increase your risk of obesity.

This type of non-science, non-sense study only serves the interests of its sponsors (Regulatory, Nutritional and Scientific Affairs Group, James R. Randall Research Center, Archer Daniels Midland Company) at the expense of scientific truth and public health.

Even if we were to accept the notion that high fructose corn syrup is ‘generally regarded as safe,’ the fact that it is ubiquitous in processed foods and soft drinks makes it dangerous. Consumption of high fructose corn syrup has gone from a half pound per person in 1970 to 62 pounds per person by 2003. This is consistent with the skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and cancers in both adults and children. 

While there are other associated factors, such as sedentary lifestyle, smoking, etc., it is purely a self-serving distraction and a lie to suggest that high fructose corn syrup is safe and has not contributed hugely to the increased incidence and deaths associated with all of these diseases.

1 comment:

Admin said...

I'm thinking...

If the corn refiners association of america spotted that one sentence ("we want everything to be healthy...we don't use HFCS") in a 4-page small town paper and mobilized their media swat team response...what will they do when they see my article?

This could prove more 'dangerous' than my 8 years of writing about Bush and calling for his impeachment!

I keep looking over my shoulder for ninja corn refiners, but i don't know what they look like.

I'm sleeping with one eye open and two EARS of organic corn so i can hear them trying to sneak up on me!