Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I thank you for your recent advertisements promoting your product, high-fructose-corn-syrup (HFCS). I have seen 2 different ads now where the person that questions the use of HFCS has been at a complete loss of words when confronted by a proponent of your product. These people have only heard that HFCS is bad for you and have no idea how to defend their position. They are then told about this natural product that you promote as being the same as sugar. Your website even does a pretty good job at finding similarities between HFCS, sugar, and honey. Again, I thank you for your television commercials to get me to further research your product, solidify my opinion, and realize why it is BAD, BAD, BAD.
On your website you state that HFCS is digested the same as sugar and honey, but the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says this: "Fructose is absorbed primarily in the jejunum before metabolism in the liver. Fructose is converted to fatty acids by the liver at a greater rate than is glucose.14 When consumed in excess of dietary glucose, the liver cannot convert all of the excess fructose in the system and it may be malabsorbed." (You can find the quote here) The study you quote suggesting the same digestive process, was conducted on "lean women" and was for the purpose of studying the effects of HFCS and sucrose consumption on appetite in normal-weight women, not whether or not the products are digested the same. There is a theory out there stating that the liver converts fructose into fat quicker than it would sucrose. If you look at that statement by the American Journal again, it sounds like a pretty good theory.
Now let's take a look at the environmental effect your not-so-fabulous product has on our precious earth. The Washington Journal gave me this quote: "The environmental footprint of HFCS is deep and wide," writes Pollan, a prominent critic of industrial agriculture. "Look no farther than the dead zone in the Gulf (of Mexico)...where virtually nothing will live because it has been starved of oxygen by the fertilizer runoff coming down the Mississippi from the Corn Belt. Then there is the atrazine in the water in farm country -- a nasty herbicide that, at concentrations as little as 0.1 part per billion, has been shown to turn male frogs into hermaphrodites." (That would be a little boy frog with both male and female reproductive organs. Hmm.)
The part I liked best on your website was how you explain the "natural" process by which honey, sugar, and HFCS are manufactured. I didn't even try to understand the manufacturing of any of these products. I assume that if you can confuse a reader by stating, "a small amount of the glucose is converted into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide by the enzyme glucose oxidase, which preserves the mixture," then you can probably simplify the process by which HFCS is made. In case you (or anyone else) didn't understand that statement, it is part of the the "manufacturing process" that bees go through while making our honey. Really?
I try to buy American when I can, but nothing you say is going to convince me that this American product is better for me than anything we import. Yes, sugar beets are grown in foreign countries and the sugar does need to be imported. Not all of it, but some. You say on your sight (under "sweeteners at a glance") that most honey is now imported from China. I would really, really, really like to know where you get this statistic. I read labels and I don't ever recall seeing Chinese honey. Seriously, I always look for honey made in Arizona because it is supposed to help with my allergies. Today I purchased a 6 pound jug of Crockett honey from Costco ($9.99). Not only was it made in the good old USA, it was packaged right here in Tempe Arizona. Chinese honey! That just sounds funny. (no offense to the Chinese)
I recognize that it was the Corn Refiners Assn. that launched this great big campaign to defend HFCS. It was also the Corn Refiners Assn. that started the Internet site. And, the Corn Refiners Assn. are the ONLY people popping up on the first page of sites when you google "high fructose corn syrup" that has anything positive to say about HFCS. I further recognize that the reason people know about http://www.sweetsurprises.com/ is because the Corn Refiners Assn. has paid for advertising to defend and sell their product. Whose information am I going to believe? Should I believe the people selling me a product, or all the other people, researchers, dieticians, reporters, and scientists who debate the quality of your product? I'm going with the later, not the salesmen.
I am still a little confused on what exactly I will say if I am attacked by one of your HFCS supporters, but I am grateful for the opportunity I have to study a little bit more about your product. I am now, more than ever, excited to scan the shelves to avoid your product. Thank you for renewing my efforts. I'll close with this yummy statement From Mother Linda, "Consumers trying to avoid genetically modified foods should avoid HFCS. It is almost certainly made from genetically modified corn and then it is processed with genetically modified enzymes. I've seen some estimates claiming that virtually everything--almost 80 percent--of what we eat today has been genetically modified at some point. Since the use of HFCS is so prevalent in processed foods, those figures may be right."
P.S. Don't get me wrong, I'm not banning your product, just trying really hard to avoid it. Heck, I love me a good Coke every once in a while. (Maybe I'll look for some of the few imported bottles that are made with real cane sugar!)