We have all seen the TV ad’s sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) explaining in loving and simple family terms that there is no difference between natural Cane Sugar and the Franken sugar derived from putting corn through an entirely chemical and un-natural process to produce High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Health and nutrition experts, including doctors, dietitians, researchers and professional organizations, are in agreement that whether it’s corn sugar — by which we mean HFCS, a sugar made from corn — or cane sugar, your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar.

Is the slogan on their web site. Of course one might argue that the CRA are nothing more than a Washington based Lobbying agency that have bought approval for HFCS. But that is pure speculation on my behalf. All I can really say is that I made several attempts to get Audrae Erickson, the chief mouth piece of the CRA to join in a live radio series Surviving The 21st Century, but she was always (conveniently) too busy.

It does however seem that I am not the only one that had questions about HFCS.

Even the TV ad’s are interesting, they are locked down to prevent downloads. Odd really, one would think that if HFCS is so darn good they would want everyone to see them. A quick look at YouTube and a search on HFCS shows a range of videos that are not complimentary about the subject.

To get the sugary sweet TV ad you must head to the CRA’s main propaganda site. It’s fun, but not best watched on a full stomach.

It transpires that Mannie Barling, Ashley F. Brooks and I were not the only ones with concerns about HFCS.

Of course ‘independent’ research is not something encouraged by the folks producing GM (Genetically Modified) products. In fact Monsanto will slap a lawsuit on anyone that even grows a seed without  their express permission. And who ever heard of a 40 page ‘End user license’ with a bag of seeds?

There are ways around this, don’t mess with the seeds or the plants,  just look at the end result. In this case neither Monsanto nor the CRA have any control over people looking at the final product, HFCS.

This Sounds simple, but it is still problematic. Universities get a large amount of funding from large corporations. Very much the ‘Screw me and I’ll screw you’ message is involved. This tends to keep research on the side of whoever is paying for it.

Yes, it sounds like Washington DC and the world of Lobbying.

Very occasionally someone bucks the trend. That seems to be what is happening to the HFCS lobby. Researchers are claiming Sugar is Sugar is BS.

University of Colorado and University of Florida researchers determined that study participants who consumed drinks sweetened with HFCS had significantly more fructose circulating in their bloodstream (and it was absorbed faster) than did those participants who had consumed drinks sweetened with cane sugar.  The study showed that the beverage made with HFCS significantly increased systolic blood pressure compared to the drink made with sugar.  The study also showed that the soft drink made with HFCS significantly increased systemic uric acid compared to the soft drink made with sugar.  High levels of uric acid are associated with hypertension and such metabolic diseases as insulin resistance, which is a precursor of type-2 diabetes.  

The University Of Colorado study had this to say:

Both HFCS and sucrose have historically been considered to have nearly identical effects on the body. But this study finds that indeed there is a difference between the two. They found that the makeup of the sugars resulted in differences in how much fructose was absorbed into the circulation, and which could have a potential impact on one’s health. Sucrose is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose that is bonded together as a disaccharide (complex carbohydrate), while HFCS is a mixture of free fructose (55 percent) and free glucose (45 percent). It’s the difference in fructose amount that appears to create the ill health effects on the body.

Ill effects on the body? Where did that come from? What ill effects? I thought sugar was sugar?

Just as disturbing is:

Their study was conducted at the University of Florida, where they evaluated 40 men and women who were given 24 ounces of HFCS – or sugar-sweetened soft drinks. Careful measurements showed that the HFCS-sweetened soft drinks resulted in significantly higher fructose levels than the sugar-sweetened drinks.  Fructose is also known to increase uric acid levels that have been implicated in blood pressure, and the HFCS-sweetened drinks resulted in a higher uric acid level and a 3 mm Hg greater rise in systolic blood pressure.

No doubt the CRA and their minions are very busy concocting a comeback on all of this. Monsanto no doubt will have the lawyers working on a way to prevent anyone from replicating the study. And I am sure that any future grants to the University of Colorado are in a great deal of jeopardy.  Particularly over the plan to assess long term effects of HFCS.

What a hoot!

Simon Barrett




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