Friday, September 5, 2008

Sweet, Sweet Deception

This is not horse related, but it's so ridiculous I just had to post it.

Allow me to set the scene for you. A few days ago, I was busy working surfing websites when I noticed an ad featuring a nice big ear of corn on the side of the page. Now, I am very anti-advertising, and I don't think I have ever clicked on an online ad in my life. But for some reason this one caught my eye. It said, "High fructose corn syrup has no artificial ingredients."

Hmm, I thought at first. There's a clever way to show that "no artificial ingredients" or "all-natural" are essentially meaningless.

But then I noticed the ad said something along the lines of "Get the facts at"

No way, I thought. This can't be what I think it is.

I clicked on the ad to go to the website and ohhhhhhh yes it is. is part of a marketing campaign arguing that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is just dandy. After all, it is nutritionally the same as table sugar, has no artificial ingredients, and has the same number of calories as table sugar. So, duh. GET THE FACTS, people, and wise up that HFCS isn't, you know, an industrially processed disaster being pumped into practically every type of processed food there is.

Here are some gems from the website. In the Q&A, the answer to "Are sugars bad for your health?" starts off by saying that sweeteners have been tested and approved by the FDA. It also contains nice language like, "Excessive consumption of sugar could lead to adverse health effects just as excessive or unbalanced consumption of many otherwise safe food ingredients could potentially be problematic for some individuals."

But what about the benefits of "nutritive sweeteners," you ask? Oh, they've got a whole list of the benefits! They include, but are not limited to: creating improved mouthfeel, helping baked goods brown, and contributing to the volume in ice cream. Also, honey is not healthier than high fructose corn syrup.

I am not totally above HFCS, by the way. I still cave and buy bad-for-you snacks, including those with HFCS, even though HFCS and partially hydrogenated oils are the two biggies I work hard to avoid. (Oh, and aren't most of the cheapo beers now made with HFCS? So it's probably in that High Life in my fridge, ha.) And overall, I am a TOTAL and complete sugar nut. So when I have a sugar binge and cram my face full of organic Newman-O cookies, I know what I'm doing is still really bad for me, even if I'm eating organic evaporated cane juice instead of HFCS.

But still. HFCS is evil, in my opinion. And this market campaign is like super-duper evil. I think the folks who rely on the cheap sugary goodness of HFCS for their paychecks are getting freaked out by all the trans-fat bans and realize that their number is next. As it should. There is no reason for HFCS to be in our food, except to save money for the people making the food.

So there, you learned something about me. I'm a HFCS nazi. I also cram my face full of Newman-Os and could never, ever be a PR person for HFCS. Even if they tried to buy me off with sweet, sweet snacks.


Daun said...

Ok, Mae, go ahead and try to win me over with your incredibly agreeable style and wittiness. Despite the fact that I soooo agree with you, I still feel manipulated. I mean, could we have more similar beliefs???

I have one for you, and I dare you to disagree:

Pasteurization of whole milk destroys more Vitamin C than contained in the entire US citrus crop.

Go ahead. Say something I will disagree with. You pumpkin-beer lovin, bike-riding, corn syrup hating clone of me...

[Thinking I just outed myself as the ultimate nerd/freak]

Maybe Mae said...

Ha ha, I sense that I am freaking you out a little, but I swear I am not in your head. :) I don't disagree with your pasteurization fact, but I also don't drink milk, so that isn't something that I'd immediately think of. But at least that means I'm not crouching behind your desk to spy on you and record your thoughts and beliefs. :) Glad you agree about HFCS, though!! It's hard to believe that marketing campaign will fool anyone, but sadly I bet it will...

Daun said...

I told my family about the marketing campaign and they were equally "aghasted".

Our culture really has things backwards.

Well, I am really glad you can't read my thoughts. I've been trying to clean them up all weekend to no avail... what a relief!

Ella C. Rotta said...

I was glad to find some outrage on the web about this. I could not believe it when I saw the commercial, when I went to the website. Where is the marketing campaign for raw sugar or for honey, or for fresh berries and apples? Oh, that's right. Those products aren't made by big food companies trying to figure out what to do with all the government-subsidized high-yield, low-taste corn in their silos.

Daun said...

Mae, have you seen this:

Mercury in HFCS