I’ll accept the claim that HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) might be getting a bum rap because of its name. The industry believes that by changing the name to Corn Sugar their product will be better accepted. Hey, it worked for the vegetable oil makers when they changed rapeseed oil to canola!
Furthermore, I’ll concede that HFCS – corn sugar – is no more harmful than other sugar-sweeteners. Yes, studies and reports abound about the nefarious nature of HFCS. Regardless, my personal experience demonstrates that reasonable amounts of the stuff are not toxic.
The basis for my concerns is in what appears to be an addiction to sweetness. People – mostly Americans – are obsessed with sweeteners.
In 1966, the total US consumption of sugars (sometimes called caloric sweeteners) was a little over 11 million tons. That’s about 70 pounds per person (assuming a population of 300 million). That’s a lot of sugar, about 3.2 ounces (5 to 6 tablespoonfuls) per day.
Total sugar consumption rose to over twenty million tons in 2009. Egads! Of those tons of caloric sweeteners, 7.7 million tons were HFCS. Approximately 40% of all sugars consumed in the US are HFCS. Let’s not ignore the fact that HFCS consumption in 1966 was ZERO.
I suggest we allow the HFCS industry to change the name of their product to Corn Sugar. However, we must all get our collective acts together and stop using so darn much sugar. Our consumption has doubled in about a generation – and it is proving to be a very unhealthy change.
Eat less sugar. Stop using artificial and other “natural” sweeteners. Break the sweetness addiction.
BE CAREFUL, however! Do not think that avoiding sugar is a good reason to switch to non-calorie (chemical) sweeteners. It isn’t. In fact, the chemical sweeteners are probably a lot more toxic than any and all of the sugars we dump on and in our foods. I did a quick Google search on “aspartame danger” and receive over 232,000 pages (January 2022).
Even “natural” sweeteners (plant-based) can contribute to the problems associated with sweetness. No, they’re not sugar and they’re usually not chemical in nature. Still, they’re sweet and they directly support our collective addiction to sweetness – similar to how vaping can contribute to the idea of smoking even though real tobacco isn’t being burned and inhaled. The image persists. A better suggestion would be to accept our food as it is – natural and unprocessed. There’s no need to sprinkle sugar on my watermelon – and using a stevia product isn’t inherently a better choice.
The key to all this is our addiction to sweetness. It will take time, but each of us can break the habit. We have to or continue to suffer long-term health problems.
SUGAR FREE must mean SWEETENER FREE.
The data I cite above was extracted from a government spreadsheet titled, “Table 49–U.S. total estimated deliveries of caloric sweeteners for domestic food and beverage use, by calendar year”. It can be found at http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Sugar/Data.htm
In reaction to an article on USA Today.com (click for article)