There was no relationship between obesity and poverty — until high-fructose corn syrup - A new study out of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville traces a disturbing correlation
Beginning in 1864, the process of producing corn syrup remained relatively the same for a century. Then, in 1967 an enzyme conversion method was created to commercialize the production of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
On its own, corn syrup is not nearly as sweet as cane or beet sugar, which is why this cheaper alternative, HFCS, was invented. While the "high" part makes it sound like an anomaly in the sweetener world, most sugars contain 50 percent fructose. HFCS contains 55 percent.
Sugar is sugar is sugar, regardless of how soda manufacturers label their sweetly saturated beverages as being the "healthy option" for containing "real" sugar. That said, corn's meteoric rise to the top of the sweetener list has as much to do with economics as nutritional value, of which there is little. The crop is heavily subsidized — between 1995 and 2010, corn was one of seven crops receiving $170 billion from the federal government.
Subsidies have made HFCS cheap to process and purchase, a benefit food manufacturers have enjoyed even as waistlines expand and diabetes rates soar.
As study coauthor Alex Bentley, who heads the UT Department of Anthropology, notes: "We found that the relationship between low income and high rates of adult obesity in the U.S. is not observable until the early 1990s. As recently as 1990, this was not a detectable problem."
How to stop this trend? The answer is simple — stop purchasing products containing HFCS — yet in practice this isn't as easy. As long as farmers are incentivized to produce corn at surplus, manufacturers will shave pennies off production costs by using it as a sweetener. Since we have an insatiable sweet tooth — that's what addiction does to a body — cutting down on sugar is highly unlikely.
The article also features a basic guide to lessening intake of sugar which I'll be featuring separately later in this week. But it is certainly possible as I cut out all added sugar some years ago and lost 14kg of weight after only a few months, and I have not put that weight back on over the last few years. This festive season I specifically stopped having large portions of deserts etc and actually shed a half a kilogram instead of usually gaining a small amount of weight during this time of the year. Even more incentive for me next year not to get carried away with all the festive eating again.
|High-fructose corn syrup is the link between poverty and obesity
A new study out of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville traces a disturbing correlation.