New Member of the MOD Squad

By MOD Squad, I am referring to the Merchants of Death in the film Thank You for Smoking. In the film, lobbyists for the alcohol, tobacco and firearms industry meet together weekly for lunch and support. It’s a great film and if you haven’t seen it, go out and see it.

While watching Lifetime and ABC Family lately, I keep seeing these ads from the Corn Refiners Association saying that high fructose corn syrup isn’t quite so bad. They refer viewers to their website, Sweet Surprise which basically “debunks myths” about high fructose corn syrup.

These ads are creepy, really, and the people behind them would be a great fit in the MOD Squad. While looking for good info on HFCS for this blog, I came upon a few good articles that are worth looking at:

High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Not So Sweet for the Planet

“The environmental footprint of HFCS is deep and wide,” writes Pollan, a prominent critic of industrial agriculture. “Look no farther than the dead zone in the Gulf [of Mexico], an area the size of New Jersey where virtually nothing will live because it has been starved of oxygen by the fertilizer runoff coming down the Mississippi from the Corn Belt. Then there is the atrazine in the water in farm country — a nasty herbicide that, at concentrations as little as 0.1 part per billion, has been shown to turn male frogs into hermaphrodites.”

Milling and chemically altering corn to form high-fructose corn syrup also is energy-intensive. That’s not to say that corn is evil and other foods aren’t; all crops require energy to grow and transport. What makes corn a target is that federal subsidies — and tariffs on imported sugar — keep prices low, paving the way for widespread use of high-fructose corn syrup and, in the process, keeping the American palate accustomed to the sweetness it provides.

SF Gate: Sugar coated – We’re drowning in high fructose corn syrup. Do the risks go beyond our waistline?

Loading high fructose corn syrup into increasingly larger portions of soda and processed food has packed more calories into us and more money into food processing companies, say nutritionists and food activists. But some health experts argue that the issue is bigger than mere calories. The theory goes like this: The body processes the fructose in high fructose corn syrup differently than it does old-fashioned cane or beet sugar, which in turn alters the way metabolic-regulating hormones function. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream.

The end result is that our bodies are essentially tricked into wanting to eat more and at the same time, we are storing more fat.

In case you haven’t seen the ads here are the two that keep airing:

And here’s a clip of Thank You For Smoking. At about 6 minutes into this clip they have the Merchants of Death.