sweet lies of high fructose corn syrup

I’m sure you’ve seen the Sweet Surprise commercials. There are several to target different consumer groups, but all involve a person #1 expressing hesitation at the offer of a high fructose corn syrup-laden “treat” and a smug HFCS-pusher asking sneeringly, “Oh yeah? Well, what’s so bad about HFCS?”

In the ads, person #1 hems and haws and has trouble articulating a satisfactory reply. HFCS person pats person #1 on the head condescendingly and says, “I thought so. Don’t worry, high fructose corn syrup is just like sugar. In moderation, it’s part of a healthy diet.” Person #1 quietly accepts the offered Frankenfood while DDB Chicago, the creator of the ads, and the Corn Refiners Association, creator of the poison, high five at their clever game, played to the grave detriment of the confused end-consumer.

I’m going to enlist my fledgling filmmaker son to help me produce a commercial of my own. The script will look something like this:


Corporate Shill Cornelia: High fructose corn syrup is just like sugar. In moderation, it’s perfectly peachy for you.

Vigilant Consumer Veronica: Oh, no, Cornelia. Fortunately for you, I have a PhD in molecular biology and can help you understand how terribly you’ve been duped.

When an individual consumes sugar, the pancreas responds by increasing the production of insulin which enables the glucose in the bloodstream to be transported into cells and used as energy. The body also increases the production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate the appetite and send a satiety signal to the body. This tells us that we’ve had enough to eat, a crucial component in the pursuit of “moderation.”

HFCS, in contrast, doesn’t cause insulin or leptin production nor increased cellular energy. You see, 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.

Cornelia, I know this is a lot to digest and, believe me, I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. The dangerous way HFCS is made, the genetically-modifed corn and enzymes that are used in its production, the fatty deposits and liver cirrhosis that may result from its over-consumption, the criminal complicity of the FDA, even the tale of interference with free-market mechanisms that led to its prevalence in the food supply, are all feature-length films in themselves.

Please, Cornelia, take my advice. Get educated about HFCS. Read labels. Protect yourself and your family from high fructose corn syrup. It truly is deadly, and there’s no smug satisfaction in that for me.

[hugs weepy Cornelia, hands her a tissue. children run into scene, grab offered apples, run off laughing and playing. pan to crushed box of Fudgsicles on picnic table, melting, chalk outline, puddle of congealed goo, like blood, surrounding] CUT.

2 thoughts on “sweet lies of high fructose corn syrup

  1. How could this post have gone so long without comment. Brilliant. Whether or not every word you say is true, I want to pay the complement of saying the ad copy is hilarious. I am not going to state whether or not I agree with or believe you, I am just commenting on the ad itself. Seems it should be effective. Was an ad ever actually made, is it posted somewhere, (i.e., YoTub or wherever) so others and I can watch and enjoy?

  2. You mean, like watching somebody in insulin shock?
    I’ve seen it, didn’t take videos though.
    Perhaps on-line resources for medical students would have such a video.
    It would be good evidence in a lawsuit, similar to the lawsuit against another Willful and Malicious mass slaughter of their most loyal customers by the Tobacco Industry… where a small percentage of the damages were awarded and then cut to a tenth of that amount…

    And a vindictive Texas Republican Judge, of course not in any way influenced by all the Tobacco Corporate money lining his pockets, jailed former Attorney General Dan Morales in retribution.

    Put him in the Texas Corporate Run Slave Labor concentration camp system.
    But it would be really ummm… not exactly entertaining but a start on real justice if the manufacturers of HFCS were actually made to pay the medical costs of the Americans and foreign citizens they damaged or killed with their toxic product.

    They would have to be forced because they lack the honesty or courage or any other moral attribute to do it simply because it would be the right thing to do.

    It’s not very likely, though, since the Corporate Rich Bitches now own outright all three branches of the Federal Government, including the police/court apparatus.

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