What was with that thick catsup?

Heinz ketchupRemember the catsup commercials played to the tune of Carly Simon’s “Anticipation,” about the tomato- based condiment emerging from its bottle with the reluctance of molasses? Remember too the regulatory attemt to categorize catsup as a vegetable? Which was it? Why were we impressed that a brand name ketchup would bottleneck like glue instead of flow out with the juiciness of ripe tomatoes? That uniform viscosity bore another similarity to sweet and sticky: High Fructose Corn Syrup!

Remember too the test of a proper spaghetti sauce being its resistance to leaking through a filter? TV audiences were shown that inferior sauces dripped, while the thicker, richer brand clung. That was probably the sweeter brand too. Thanks to High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Now hold on a minute. What’s wrong with HFCS? After all, the corn refinery industry assures us that HFCS is like anything, perfectly fine, in moderation.

But how do you consume HFCS in moderation, when the muck is IN everything?

The old catsup commercial’s subversion of our concept of what constitutes good food, didn’t occur to me until I pondered the uniform syrupy essence of nearly all processed food products today. When you look upon today’s supermarket aisles, colored by their uniformly bright products, you can practically choke on your anticipation of corn syrup congealing at the back of your throat.

I swear the otherwise transparent corn syrup has become aesthetic too. HFCS is present in the visual design of the cardboard cases of soda. It’s in the same triple stroke typefaces of pop and candy bars.

HFCS became so popular because unlike many natural foods, it didn’t have an aftertaste. The sweetness lingered, because it sticks.

What were we thinking was taking so long up inside that bottle, for which we were salivating with such eager anticipation? I’d like to think the hesitation was the food industry’s unconscious reluctance to reveal its poisonous mendacity.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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7 Responses to What was with that thick catsup?

  1. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    It does have an after taste though. That’s why most people prefer cane sugar in their sugared ice teas.

  2. Avatar pcm says:

    In response to the 1981-1982 recession, Reagan declared Ketchup a vegetable for the school lunch programs. In 1992, the New York Times reported Salsa had overtaken Ketchup in sales. That did not include the free packets handed out with burgers at the fast food establishments. To me, Ketchup, the sweetened condiment, is a hangover of the bland British-American style of food more to the taste of children. Salsa is my choice. Hot!

  3. Avatar Kim Mueller says:

    It’s about time that the individual take responsibility for overzealous portions and a relative lack of physical activity because research proves that there is not one ingredient or macronutrient to blame for the poor state of health many face today. Thus, singling out high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a culprit to the plethora of health problems facing America today is wrong. From a nutritional standpoint, HFCS contains the same amount of calories (4) per gram as any other commonly used sweetener and even contains a similar breakdown of glucose and fructose as the perceived ‘more natural’ honey. That being said, it would be nice to see ketchup with ‘tomato’ as the first ingredient, especially with many being brainwashed into thinking this condiment serves as a legit vegetable serving.

    Healthy regards,

    Kim Mueller, MS, RD

  4. Eric Eric says:

    In the world of computer security, there’s a strategy called a “honeypot,” it’s a file sweetened to attract hackers. Well this post is a honeypot for processed food industry trolls, and instead of honey, we’ve used HFCS!

    Any takers to counter Ms Mueller’s propaganda? Even if no ONE ingredient can be blamed for America’s food problem, that doesn’t mean being critical of NONE. We most certainly must challenge each specific poison the food refineries are foisting on us. And High Fructose Corn Syrup is one of the ugliest.

    Ms Mueller takes the odd position that it’s not fair to blame HFCS. Fair to whom?

    And I’m sorry, but your “it’s time to take personal responsibility for obesity” argument is heartless corporate victim-blaming. Americans are given very few healthy choices by the food giants and advertisers who maximize their profits by promoting excess.

  5. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    ‘RD’ stands for Registered Dietician and this is the branch of nonsense that serves up the slop handed out to most hospital patients. Makes me sick just thinking about it, Kim.

  6. Avatar Marie says:

    Kim Mueller, do you work for Monsanto or a food processing corporation? Why would a “registered dietician” defend a poison like HFCS? Are you truly uneducated about what HFCS is, how it’s made, and what it does to the body?

    Just a tiny refresher from my recent post Sweet Lies of HFCS:

    . . .every cell in the body can metabolize glucose, but HFCS is only processed in the liver, like fats and alcohol, where it’s converted into triglycerides. The “energy” locked in HFCS stays largely inaccessible to the body, and most people know that elevated triglycerides — which we commonly refer to as high cholesterol — can lead to a whole host of health problems, including hardened arteries and heart attack. With HFCS, the moderation mechanism is never triggered; we never feel satisfied. Maybe this explains why 30% of American children are obese and sluggish, and why Lipitor, which is used to treat high cholesterol, is the best-selling drug in the country today. With approval by the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors are now prescribing it to children as young as 8.

    Kim, you say

    “there is not one ingredient or macronutrient to blame for the poor state of health many face today. Thus, singling out high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a culprit to the plethora of health problems facing America today is wrong.”

    I disagree completely. HFCS — or more accurately, inedible corn (Yellow Dent #2) and its refinery byproducts (HFCS, Ethanol, etc) — is at the very core of our national health crisis.

  7. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Theoretically the dietician is correct about the ‘per gram’ calories of corn syrup being equal to other sugar additives. However, that is not the main point here. The main problem with HFCS is how it is dumped into products in such a ubiquitous and unnecessary manner by food corporations. It is a commonly used, excessively high calorie, sweet tooth hook used on kids that shapes their long term perceptions of taste in a most negative manner. Cane sugar, too, is often used in this outrageous manner.

    You can go to the store and buy canned fruit and vegetables alike and see the unnecessary addition of extra sugars in most of the offerings. Food Corporations are dumping extra calories in our foods and doing it as a given that most people have to suffer with punching (fattening) them daily.

    It is exactly the same phenomena as in the old days when non-smokers had to put up with clouds of smoke in all public places, except it is ubiquitous sweeteners everywhere it seems instead of tobacco smoke. HFCS is just the nastiest tasting of these additives used in the excessive corporate pushing of ‘sweet’.

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