Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Hazards of High Fructose Corn Syrup

I should state upfront that I am not an avid supporter of alternative medicine (if it was really an alternative, it would already be a medicine), so I do not want to seem like an advocate of the person who posted this video. In addition, I am even less of a fan of good health advocacy, which so often becomes an excuse for the worst kind of throat-slitting behavior you see in the insurance industry (targeting those who are overweight, underweight, people with contrived pre-existing conditions, etc.). All of the aforementioned notwithstanding, this does not mean they are always wrong, and on the issue of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, the doctor delivering this presentation is on to something.

It is a long presentation, nine total videos, but very educational. I am posting the first one in the series, but the third video (at the 3:33 mark) delves into how and why this is taking place. Without further ado, Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, on the sad and bitter truth about sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

I can attest to the switchover to high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks. As a kid, I remember when Coca Cola in this country tasted the way it does outside of the US, with sugar. After the New Coke campaign in the mid-80s, which was a disaster (and in my view, purposely so), the company brought back 'old Coke,' but with a different taste than the real old Coke. It contained high fructose corn syrup, the nicotine of soft drinks and foods over the past three decades. And I cannot preach because I am a full fledged Mountain Dew addict in the mornings of my workdays. This is where the health debate on soft drinks and food should occur, not wholesale taxing all of them to subsidize a delivery of health care, the lack of which was caused by the behavior of those who created high fructose corn syrup to begin with.

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