Nutrition and Healing
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  • Get the facts

    New ad campaign supports high fructose corn syrup

    If it wasn’t for those brain-boosting effects of watching football that I told you about the other week, I think I would seriously consider throwing out our TV once and for all. Actually, my husband and I were watching a televised football game when I saw the ad that made me want to unplug the set right then and there and haul it out to the curb with the rest of our garbage. (And I might have, if it wasn’t for the panicked look on my husband’s face when I threatened to do it right before a critical play by his favorite team.)

    It started out like countless other commercials: with a couple enjoying a picnic in the park. The woman hands the man a popsicle, which he refuses to take because it contains high fructose corn syrup (HCFS). When she demands to know what the big deal is, he replies “Well, you know what they say about it” She asks him to enlighten her, and he stammers for a few seconds before she interrupts, telling him that it’s “made from corn” and is “fine in moderation.” And with that, he’s convinced and takes a big bite of the HCFS-laden popsicle to prove it.

    The ad campaign (which also features another, equally condescending commercial) uses the tagline “Get the facts.” So I did.

    Despite the clueless stammering of the fellow in the commercial, the reasons not to eat HCFS are plentiful: Studies have linked it to health hazards such as obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol — just to name a few. And one especially disturbing study conducted by the USDA found that HCFS is actually more damaging to health than sugar (and you’ve read numerous times in the eTips and in Dr. Wright’s Nutrition & Healing just how detrimental that is).

    Here’s a synopsis of the study (which I read on the Weston A. Price foundation website,

    “Sucrose [sugar] is composed of glucose and fructose. When sugar is given to rats in high amounts, the rats develop multiple health problems, especially when the rats were deficient in certain nutrients, such as copper. The researchers wanted to know whether it was the fructose or the glucose moiety that was causing the problems. So they repeated their studies with two groups of rats, one given high amounts of glucose and one given high amounts of fructose.

    The glucose group was unaffected but the fructose group had disastrous results. The male rats did not reach adulthood. They had anemia, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy–that means that their hearts enlarged until they exploded. They also had delayed testicular development. In a nutshell, the little bodies of the rats just fell apart. The females were not so affected, but they were unable to produce live young

    HFCS contains more fructose than sugar and this fructose is more immediately available because it is not bound up in sucrose.”

    Something tells me that these aren’t exactly the sorts of “facts” the ad wizards (and food industry insiders) behind the pro-HCFS campaign wanted me to get. But there were lots and I do mean LOTS more like them. Enough to convince me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of two things: 1.) no matter how many commercials come out supporting it, HCFS never has been, still isn’t, and never will be fit for human consumption, and 2.) there are even worse things on television than political ads and reality shows.

    “The murky world of high fructose corn syrup,” The Weston A. Price Foundation (, accessed 9/11/08

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