Monday, June 20, 2005

HFCS Not 'Mischaracterized,' But Nailed

Why does Audrae Erickson claim HFCS is good for you?

Guess who's unhappy with what I'm writing about sugar and its unhealthy subsidiary product high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) at this blog? It's none other than the President of the Corn Refiners Association named Audrae Erickson.

In a terse response to my article entitled "Diet Soda Study Results Are Absolutely Preposterous," Erickson claims that I "mischaracterized" HFCS as a "unique contributor to obesity." I had previously mentioned HFCS by name in only one other article I wrote at this blog. However, since Erickson has chosen to address the subject of HFCS, let's take a closer look at this villain to your health and waistline.

Erickson describes HFCS as "a natural, home-grown sweetener from U.S. corn fields."

Is that glowing, sentimental description of HFCS supposed to make people forget about how harmful it is for them to consume it? Sugar is sugar no matter what you call it. And HFCS is a potent sugar that is literally catastrophic to anyone who is trying to lose or maintain their weight. Why would anyone suggest otherwise?

Erickson asserted that scientific experts have found that HFCS is "not a unique contributor to obesity." But there are plenty of other studies that have found just the opposite to be true. I invite you to visit my friend Regina Wilshire's blog to get further educated about these new research findings. She'll be happy to share with you the very clear link that has been found between sugar in the form of HFCS and obesity.

But Erickson shocked me the most when she actually had the gall to claim that HFCS "has been proven beneficial to consumers through its use in many foods and beverages, including several products that are specifically made for people trying to control their weight."

Are you kidding me? Is Erickson actually suggesting that HFCS is good for you? The mere fact that it is found in foods and beverages does not necessarily mean it is not going to have an effect on your weight and health. That's like saying the alcohol found in beer is good for your because it is so prevalent in adult beverages. Just because it's in there doesn't mean you body needs it.

As for HFCS being included in products made for people trying to control their weight, that's not surprising since low-fat foods are generally loaded with sugar and/or HFCS. While this sweetener may not have any fat, HFCS is certainly not healthy. Anyone following a low-carb lifestyle knows to avoid this hidden sugar at all costs because it is nothing more than pure, unadulterated sugar!

Characterizing HFCS as "safe," Erickson said it's just as good as table sugar and honey. Is that supposed to make HFCS look better?! My contention is that those sugars are not good for you either! Sugar in ANY form can cause you to rapidly gain weight in excessive amounts.

But HFCS is a lot different than plain sugar. Actually, it is a highly refined, artificially-made product that transforms cornstarch into a sweet, thick and clear liquid that is sweeter than sugar and prevents the body from burning stored fat. Yikes! Not good when you are livin' la vida low-carb!

HFCS replaced sugar during the 1970's because it is cheaper to produce and the obesity problem has gotten progressively worse ever since. Americans consume more than 63 pounds each of HFCS annually today compared with just a half pound in 1970. Fifty-five percent of sweeteners used today are made from corn.

So the next time someone heralds the healthiness of HFCS, just remember it is a dangerous sugar that should be avoided if we are ever going to get this obesity problem under control. But we're glad to see the big boys are watching, though!

06/20/2005 UPDATE: I got the following e-mail from one of my faithful readers today in response to this article.

Hi Jimmy,

I just read your blog posting regarding Audrea Erickson's reply to your previous posting about HFCS. I nearly choked when she stated that it's "a natural, home-grown sweetener from U.S. corn fields." Natural?!! Far from it, considering the processing that HFCS goes through when manufactured. Here are some links regarding HFCS, one about the manufacturing process and the other about the effects that it has on heath:

I quit eating sugar about 1 ½ years ago when I realized that Type II diabetes runs in my mom's side of the family after my mom was diagnosed with it. Fortunately, she had a doctor that advocated a low-carb diet for her to control it (which she has, and has lost about 30 lbs, too.) While I do not follow a particular low carb diet since I do not need to loose weight (I avoid sugar, grains and starchy foods and eat primarily meat, veggies, nuts and some fruits and dairy such as cheese), I have lost 10 lbs, gained a ton of energy (for years I complained to my doctor about fatigue and she want to put me on anti-depressants even though I knew I wasn't depressed) and most wonderful of all, my Irritable Bowel Syndrome which had plagued me for over 20 years literally disappeared overnight when I quit eating grains. My resolve to stick with this way of life is always strengthened when I read about people such as yourself, who have literally transformed their lives with a LC lifestyle. And I really do appreciate your dedication to tearing down the myths and fighting all the misconceptions out there regarding what Living La Vida Low-Carb is all about. Keep up the good fight!

THANK YOU SO MUCH for your encouraging words and for sharing your story of success with me today. You really made my day!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again--HFCS is the nasty offspring of government and big corporations again trying to save big bucks--at the health expense of Americans. It's bad enough what regular old table sugar will do to your system--imagine what HFCS is capable of? Want to know why obesity and diabetes II is a major problem in this country? Look at what they've done to our food supply--without telling us, of course. This stuff is pure poison--it raises triglycerides, bypasses the pancreas, thus aggravating the liver, and lowers chromium stores in the body--and we all know what any natural health practitioner adds to a diabetic's diet immediately upon analysis--that's right--chromium.
Don't be fooled by the "America
s Heartland" argument. The only thing corn will ever be a good source of is fuel, that is, if our government learns to stop depending on foreign countries for fuel.
But that's another subject...

6/20/2005 10:17 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Hi Jimmy, and Congrats on your Lifestyle change. I have become aware of this nasty stuff thru my own educational journey ( Yes I am t-2 D, and overweight). I started going Low carb ( again) only this time I made a complete change, not just a diet ( like atkins- temporary). This stuff HFCS scares the hell outta me. I educated my family about and have forbidden my youngest to ingest it. The problem is it is EVERYWHERE!

I went to get her a box of rice krispies, ( plain ole rice krispies, snap crackle and bland) and would you believe it? it was in there too.......(*GRRRRRR*) And Corn Flakes. Now the ingredients in Cornflakes are milled corn, sugar, salt, malt flavorings, why then do they need to also put HFCS in there? The sugar is there already.
It is NOT Replacing the sugar. I believe there is another reason for it, and I have yet to uncover why, BUT I am looking at all the girls in my daughters class ballooning in weight...It is frightening.

I dont want to scream conspiracy, but since I dont trust any entity of our gov't I HAVE TO WONDER THE REAL REASON.

AND I also heard from my local health food propeitor that they use GMO Corn... FRANKENFOODS to make HFCS!

2/13/2008 10:17 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

It's MUCH worse than we even realize, KC. THANK YOU for sharing your comments! By the way, I wouldn't consider the Atkins lifestyle a temporary diet--I've been eating this way for four years and counting. So far, so good! :D

2/13/2008 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I decided to go on a diet last year because I was very sick and overweight. My parents told me about High Fructose Corn Syrup and I decided to drop it and that meant pain to me! But I lost 25+ pounds and am healthier than ever! Now, just looking at the nutrition facts on junk food makes me sick!

6/25/2008 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write fitness articles for various magazines and websites. Yesterday, I looked at my e-mail, only to find one from Audrae Erickson, President of the Corn Refiners Association, telling me that I should look into the research on HCFS before continuing to advise AGAINST it, as I always do :) Anyone who wants the e-mail let me know. Unreal! lol

8/12/2008 3:39 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

She did that to me, too! I'd love to have a copy of that e-mail from Ms. Erickson. Send it to me and I'll blog about it. :D

8/12/2008 4:07 PM  
Blogger Joe C. said... is her response to this article...

...she is as dangerous to my health as HFCS!

By the way a good read is "Sugar Blues" by William Dufty . It changed my outlook on health.

8/29/2008 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been doing some web surfing on HCFS this past week, and I see Audrea Erickson posting on several other sites from the past two weeks. Obviously other people commenting here have experienced her emails.

Initially for me, the debate on high fructose corn syrup use to be unclear, but the concerns about HCFS argument became strongest when I was reading about diabetics and their experiences with HCFS compared to cane sugar. At a web forum for diabetics, one guy tried HCFS. Measured his blood sugar. Then he tried cane sugar. Measured his blood sugar. His blood sugar with HCFS was twice as high as his blood sugar with cane sugar. His comment is just above here {I couldn't figure out a direct link - sorry}

To be on a safe side, I've been encouraging others to join a campaign to get cola companies to switch to cane sugar or beet sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Sign up at

I joined. Hopefully this helps us to move beyond high fructose corn syrup & to promote better corporate responsibility. I'm crossing my fingers.

11/17/2008 6:44 PM  

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