Pardon my french, but I get a little worked up about this. Be warned, I hammered this out with limited editing.
RE: This story – http://www.katu.com/news/national/129724903.html
Now that I’m on Specific Carbohydrate Diet, *all* refined sugars are verboten, so this doesn’t affect me so directly. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have strong opinions on food issues in general. If anything, I’ve become much MORE opinionated about it since my Crohn’s diagnosis and subsequent dietary changes. For one thing, every time some ‘growers association’ wants to change the name of something, it’s a lot harder for me to make sure that I’m not eating things I’m not supposed to!
But there’s a larger issue at play here. We can point fingers here and there about the underlying causes for the obesity epidemic so rampant in First World countries, but misinformation is a major factor.
Most people are already miseducated about nutrition and food. It’s not taught in schools (at least, not in any reasonably thorough kind of way) and people simply aren’t given the tools to make good choices about food. The idea that, “This is the food I grew up on, and I’ve made it this far, so it must be ok!”, seems to be the prevailing opinion of many.
Add to that the sneakiness of saying that ‘sugar is sugar’. Sugar is ONE OF the sugars. There’s a lot of confusion on the part of the consumer here. ‘Sugars’ are a type of carbohydrate, and they can be classified as monosaccharide, disaccharide or oligosaccharide. But the term ‘sugar’ as used in cooking refers to sucrose, a specific sugar that is usually derived from either sugar cane or sugar beets. Sucrose cannot be found in corn and to imply that corn’s fructose is identical to sucrose is simply not true. They aren’t even in the same category. Fructose is a monosaccharide while sucrose is a disaccharide.
We know for a fact that the closer a food is to its natural state, the more nutrients it contains and the better it is for the one eating it. So it stands to reason that the further a food is from its natural state, the fewer nutrients it has and the less healthy it is for the consumer. Evaporated cane juice is always going to be healthier (or less bad, anyway) than refined sugar is always going to healthier than corn syrup.
I’m rambling here, so I’ll try to wrap this up. I firmly believe HFCS is a terrible food and is a significant contributor to the rampant spread of obesity and auto-immune disorders in the First World. Refined sugar isn’t great either, but it’s a heck of a lot closer to something you could make at home.
Maybe I’ll try to put this into a more coherent post later. For now, don’t be fooled. HFCS is not ‘the same as sugar’.