Those who know me personally know that I’ve been on a bit of a tirade recently about corn syrup. This really hit home recently over something as simple as a bottle of Pepsi. What’s the scoop?
Corn syrup is the sweetener of choice today for many things, including food and beverages. Nowhere is this more apparent than in carbonated soft drinks, which I’ll cover in a bit. But when you get to the point of reading labels for many foods, you realize just how much corn syrup has infected what we eat. For instance, I make just about all of my food from scratch, but while browsing through some salad dressings at the market, it was not only disturbing to see corn syrup listed as an ingredient, it was listed near the top of the list of ingredients. So in other words, it’s just as much a filler as it is a sweetener.
The reason corn syrup has replaced real cane sugar? Politics. In order to support the corn farmers, a lot of food production has switched from sugar to corn syrup. At what cost? Corn syrup does not break down in the body like real sugar does, and is stored as fat, which points to it as being one of the causes of obesity in the U.S. today. Corn syrup also tricks the brain by supressing your instinct of being “full”, so you eat more when the food contains corn syrup. So, do you ever wonder why U.S. residents are among the most overweight in the world? Blame corn syrup. It’s in just about anything prepared food or beverage that you purchase today.
So, what does a bottle of Pepsi have to do with it? While we were at our excellent local market, I came across two stacks of pop cases in the frozen food aisle. They are now selling Coca Cola and Pepsi from Mexico, where they still use real cane sugar in the making of the sodas. We picked up a bottle of it and took it to a friend’s house to have with the pizza. My significant other noticed an immediate difference: she says this Pepsi is not as “sicky sweet” as the stuff produced stateside. My friend’s wife also compared it–she’s not a pop drinker, but she did a comparison and also noted that the Pepsi was good, where she called the U.S. Pepsi “vile”. I tried a little myself, and they’re right: it’s not as sweet as the regular Pepsi. In fact, this is how I remember tasking it a few decades ago when I was a kid. Any time I have tried Pepsi in the past several years, even as a single sip, I was repulsed by the sweetness of it. Because of that, I drink exclusively diet pop. And no, Nutra Sweet and Splenda are not bad for you either…remember, politics. Of course the corn growers and sugar producers want you to think the sweeteners are bad for us!
I don’t know what anyone can do to stop this corn syrup madness. I’m doing my part by avoiding the purchase of anything that contains a lot of corn syrup. But that doesn’t stop the public at large from consuming it. What we don’t need are new laws to ban corn syrup–all we need are a few good high profile negative publicity campaigns, and the public will stay away from it in droves.