Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Spoon Full of Medicine Helps the Sugar Go Down

If you are bitter at heart, sugar in the mouth will not help you - Yiddish Proverb

I am getting annoyed during my daily cup of Morning Joe, and it's not because Pat Buchanan is yelling way too early in the morning. No it's because of two ads running all the time - Big Food apologist's efforts in one way or another to convince us that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a wonderful thing to load your diet with.

The first commercial is from, which is in turn one of many scam sites run by the Center for Consumer Freedom which in turn is run by Berman and Company - a PR firm. CCF is sponsored by Big Food, Big Beverage and Big Tobacco, among others. It has taken stands against lowering the blood alcohol content for DWI, against smoking bans in restaurants, and in favor of trans fats and mercury laden fish.

Now these mega-industries have a voice that shoud be heard, but the lady doth protest too much, methinks. It reminds me of Martin Short's character Nathan Thurm with his ash dangling cigarette, or these guys from King Corn.

The first ad features a faux police line-up with a sugar cube, a bear of honey and a corn stalk (representing HFCS). The tag line is that a sugar is a sugar. The problem is that the argument is specious. Yes, for the most part a sugar is a sugar, but that's not the real argument against HFCS. Sure some may misinterpret it, but the real argument is about our total corn policy. We are growing megatons of otherwise inedible corn, paid for by our Federal tax dollars, that make HFCS both ubiquitous and insidious because it's artificially cheap. That is just one issue of a broad topic that has been dealt with by better writers than I, Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle among them.

The second ad comes from a group called Americans Against Food Taxes. It features a middle class lady with two kids. She is driving a Ford Something in good shape. The neighbor's vehicle is in good shape too. In short, a nice middle class, if older, suburb. The punch line is that a penny an ounce pop tax may not matter in Washington, but it does in real America. Lady, if a 35¢ increase in the cost of a 2 liter bottle of pop is gonna have that much impact on your food budget, you shouldn't be buying it anyway. It is a luxury, not a food necessity.

The problem is that the other side is also disingenuous. If taxing pop and juice drinks is a way to raise revenue, deal with it as that. If, however, it is trying to improve health, picking on those two is not enough. There are sugars everywhere. Start by eliminating corn subsidies, and make healthier stuff more available. Then we may be able to spend less on medicines to treat the result illness.

How about a "Dumb Choices" label.

OK, I am out of big "ous" words. It's just food for thought!


Darcie said...

Oy vey, I couldn't agree more. I love how the ads I've seen all tout HFCS as "natural!" Yeah, well so is arsenic and poop - that doesn't mean it's good for you.

Scotty said...

OK, Midwesterners don't say Oy Vey - the say HE double toothpicks.

But Trish and I use the natural poop argument often. I will be teaching a class for parents on the 19th, which will talk about much of this.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Life's too short to eat bad food -