"High Fructose Corn Syrup Comes From Corn"
Yes, indeed corn syrup does come from corn. However, this is almost like saying that meth is clean because it is made with bleach. While I don't put either meth or high fructose corn syrup in my body, if I had to choose I would choose the corn syrup over meth any day. Parents of small children may disagree with any distinction between the two.
According to the website, HFCS is...
considered a natural food ingredient under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's definition of the term “natural.” Under FDA rules, “natural” means that “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.”
By this definition, gasoline is natural, too. That must be why we don't need factories to make the stuff, or to make HFCS. I wonder if you can get organic HFCS.
"Nutritionally the Same as Sugar or Honey"
The chart on each page reinforces this claim. The ads claim that as long as HFCS is used "in moderation" HFCS is just as healthy as any other sugar. This may actually be true, I am willing to concede this point. Let me be clear: I admit that HFCS is just as good or bad for you as any other refined sugar and honey. Except for the teeny, tiny problem of actually trying to use this stuff in moderation. HFCS is in freaking everything: like apple sauces, almost all non-diet soda and fruit drinks, coffee flavor syrups, beef, yo momma, etc.
According to the USDA, high fructose corn syrup accounts for roughly 41% of all caloric (nutritive) sweeteners consumed in the U.S.True, but corn sweeteners--including HFCS, glucose, and dextrose--account for over 50% of all sweeteners shipped in the US, according to that table the website mentioned. (You have to open a spreadsheet from the USDA to find Table 49.) The funny thing about the honey claim is that we aren't consuming nearly as much honey as we do HFCS. Only 148,000 tons of honey was shipped in 2007. Almost 11,000,000 tons of corn syrup was shipped in 2007. I guess this must be what the Corn Refiner's Association calls moderation.
I was suspicious of the claim that only 40.1 pounds of HFCS were consumed per year, per capita. The chart is clear about this, despite my completely anecdotal suspicion. We purchase about 50 pounds of the stuff per year per capita, but let an estimated 20% go to waste (uneaten or spoiled or etc), according to Table 52. This means that we are wasting 20% of our soda purchases every year. I have a friend whose mother will open a soda and drink a few swallows and then put it back in the fridge and twenty minutes later, she will open a new one and repeat the process because "she just wants a little drink, not a whole one." This boggles my mind and fills her fridge with 30 or 40 half empty sodas a week, which all go stale before anyone else gets thirsty. These are also diet so they don't count, therefore everyone everywhere drinks every drop of soda and eats every pound of HFCS they purchase. 20% seems kinda high to me, but I am not an expert working for the USDA. I have wasted corn starch plenty of times making some non-Newtonian fluids and those are always cool, so maybe 20% isn't so high...except corn starch isn't corn syrup.
One regular soda a day is horrifically bad for you. Diet sodas aren't so great, either, with all that salt.
Despite all this blathering on about HFCS, I have only one reason for disliking HFCS beyond the health reason: it tastes terrible. Sodas and fruit drinks with made with cane sugar taste more refreshing to me. Cane sugar straight off the cane is soooo much better than corn syrup straight from the jar, especially when you go to the Latino grocery store and buy it in a bunch and then chew it like tabacco and sit around the pool. If you can get past the woody texture to the sheer buzz and flavor of the sap, cane sugar is brilliant.
Next week in wild, quasi-scientific rambling: if men are often red/green colorblind, are rare women blue/yellow colorblind? I once convinced an ex-girlfriend's father that this was the case, despite having never heard of it and having done no research whatsoever. I just wanted to convince a well-respected lawyer that a total fabrication was the truth.