High Fructose Corn Syrup: Industry Fights Back With Misleading Ad Blitz

Please, dear readers, do NOT get taken in by the two new TV ads (dubbed “Party” and “Two Bites“) and two print ads (in newspapers and magazines) from the Corn Refiners Association, which claim that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is fine in moderation.

When you watch both TV ads, you’ll be amused — I’m assuming — at how the person avoiding high fructose corn syrup is portrayed as an inarticulate, tongue-tied, unknowledgeable person, who’s silly for staying away from the sweet stuff.

On the other hand, the woman (in both ads) who offers the popsicle or the punch is presented as a smart consumer, who quickly rattles off that high fructose corn syrup is “made from corn, doesn’t have artificial ingredients and like sugar, it’s fine in moderation.”

Please don’t take these ads as license to go dash off and buy popsicles or fruit punch.

About the only thing I agree with in this media blitz is that yes, you should get the facts. But when you do, you’ll learn a sour surprise — not a “sweet surprise,” as the corn industry would have you believe.

Here are some facts that the corn industry flat out ignores in their ads.

Firstly, even if you had only two bites of a HFCS-laced popsicle (as one ad implies), that’s not the only high fructose corn syrup you’re getting over the course of a day or week.

Most Americans do NOT take in just a little bit of HFCS. If you’re eating processed foods, you are NOT consuming high fructose corn syrup in moderation. The sweetener is used in just about any refined products you can find on the market — frozen pizza, baked breads, spaghetti sauce, hot dogs, hamburgers, crackers, you name it, etc.

What this means is that if you had just two bites of a popsicle, over the rest of day you, as a typical, processed-foods-loving American (forgive me if I offended you) are swallowing lots of the sweet substance. And such sugar overloading — whether it comes from corn or cane — can lead to a plethora of health ailments, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as I explore in my book Sugar Shock!

In fact, over the course of the year, the average American doesn’t know the meaning of moderation. In 2005, for instance, she or he consumed at least 77 pounds of corn-based sweeteners. And I suspect the numbers are even higher now — I still need to check them though.

Now bear in mind that this is only part of the sugar story, because our typical American is taking in another 65.6 pounds of cane or beet-based sugar and other sweeteners.

Secondly, one glass of fruit punch doesn’t even approach the concept of moderation. For instance, an 8-ounce glass of Tropicana punch has 29 grams of sugar, which comes to about 7.25 teaspoons of sugar. Does the corn industry really think that this is moderation? You’ve got to be kidding.

Stop by soon for another angle on this new misleading HFCS media blitz.

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2 thoughts on “High Fructose Corn Syrup: Industry Fights Back With Misleading Ad Blitz

  1. I saw those ads, and was not really amused at all. Don’t we get enough junk in our foods as it is? The commercial that came on right after that one was the Soyjoy commercial. I’m new to this site, but I think that if anyone “got the facts” about soy, they would be making the same types of ads for that too. I came very close to having hypothyroid from soy but was wise enough to listen to my body before it became a matter of life-long drug therapy. It made me wonder why it is that no one advertises fruits and vegetables or free-range organic chicken or grass-fed beef- or raw milk for that matter. The fact that selling raw milk can have one arrested and put in jail while we are forced to consume foods that could be GMO or laden with sugar and pesticides, etc. (that are not even required on the labels) is apalling, and it makes me wonder why we are so ill and obese in this country…

  2. Write to companies and complain about HFCS or corn additives. I just wrote to the corn industry because of their ads and “sweetsurprise.com” website.
    Below is my letter:
    As a chemistry, biology, and health teacher, I think that this website (sweetsurprise.com) is deceiving the American public.
    In no place did you mention that the molecular make-up of HFCS is not the same as sugar (you forgot to mention hydrogen atoms)–that the cells have only recently been introduced to this “chemical” as food. And what about the revealing “and more research is needed,” addition to most of the research. Appears much like the tobacco industry claims of years past.
    As I tell my students, the American people should boycott corn (corn in every way–even corn-on-the-cob) because of those TV advertisements. Shame on you!
    By the way, those advertisements are hurting your health attack on the American people. You wouldn’t believe how many people are really enraged over those stupid advertisements.
    Liz at Windale Studios
    But thanks for an excellent teaching tool–I’ve used such advertisements and the use of HFCS in multi-curriculum teaching strategies combining science, government, economics, history, and health. I also draw attention to research statistics and the comparison of “who” is supporting such research–and the resulting conclusions.