Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Corn Porn

Just read this report that 9 out of 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury. Mercury. Yet another reason the HFCS is a major health hazard and should probably be outlawed or extremely restricted. I paid a visit to my friend Steve who's originally from England, and he mentioned that HFCS is banned in England for food products... this was relevant because he offered me a bottle of Coca-Cola from Mexico, made with real sugar the way it used to be here, and the way it's made in most of the world. Hard to believe we've reached the point where a sugar-filled soda is considered the HEALTHY alternative.

But why do we use HFCS so much here in the US? Because way too much of the economy is tied up in corn, and the corn lobbyists seem to have a death grip on the government. Corn growers are subsidized and price supported and now for some reason we're using corn to make ethanol (instead of using something more efficient, like sugar beets). Is it just so Presidential aspirants have the favor of corn growers when the Iowa caucuses roll around every 4 years? Why corn? Are American farmers too stupid to grow something else? Our corn industry is even causing problems in other countries, like Mexico, where local farmers can't compete with the prices of imported subsidized US corn, spreading poverty and hunger there, too.

Corn has its place, but for some reason, it's everywhere. Most livestock are fed corn in massive quantities, rather than grass or other feeds that their digestive systems are designed for. So, corn is even messing with meat products, and by extension, humans who eat meat (or other products with HFCS). And humans aren't designed to digest so much corn either. HFCS is the cheapest sweetener, so it's now in everything from breads to snacks to sauces to ketchup. A huge percentage of processed or semi-prepared foods, especially inexpensive foods that more and more people are resorting to as the economy collapses.

On a brighter note, as Tia mentioned on her blog, I received the prints that I'll have for sale at Dirty Show, and I was quite pleased with how they turned out. Doubly pleased in that it means that my monitor appears to be properly calibrated to my lab, so I'll be able to relax a bit that I'm on the right track now at least as far as that's concerned.

So, if you're planning to be at Dirty Show, be sure to stop by the "museum store" and look for my prints (including the lovely Spilt Sugar here) to see how spiffy they turned out. Feel free to buy a few, too.

5 comments:

Tia said...

You know I love these shots.. and yes, HFCS is in so many things, it just disgusts me.

I remember I was in an airport not long ago, thirsty.. I saw these "all natural, organic" green teas, or so they said on the front of the bottle. But they had HFCS as one of the first things in the ingredients when I checked. I thought tea was water & leaves? Maybe some honey or cane sugar. Nothing more, nothing less.

It cracks me up that they put it in "juice" and all this stuff they claim is supposed to be healthy. People really need to be aware of what they are ingesting, because nobody is going to warn you.

Steve said...

The introduction of HFCS into food and drink products in the 70's coincides perfectly with the beginning of the USA's obesity and diabeties epidemics. The corn growers have too much to lose by admitting that, unlike natural sugars, a human body canNOT digest HFCS properly. It merely turns to fat rather than be expelled.

Health issues aside, didn't that Coke taste a MILLION times better than the regular HFCS-laden crap?

However, if you write to Coca-Cola USA and complain about HFCS, their official response is that the 'taste is not impaired' and, anyway, the "ingredients used are up to each individual bottler" around the country.

IMHO, HFCS is another 'tobacco industry' lawsuit waiting to happen - only this time the payouts will have to be MUCH bigger!

Lin said...

Good post, Gary.

HFCS still exists in many U.K. food products. If I could change one thing about the world, it would be to ban this terrible stuff. It's liquid death, pure and simple.

(BTW, I'm still reading regularly - alas the change in our UK legislation (aka censorship) means we're not allowed to link to sites featuring -even occasional- bondage...but I'm still checking in. Always will.)

Meagan said...

Hey Gary!

I know this post is older, but this is a topic that I'm excited about. :) Have you by any chance read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan?

Gary M Photo said...

Hi Meagan, no haven't seen it. I'll look into it... :)