I love sugar.
I don’t like it. I don’t flirt with it. I have a legitimate relationship with it. I LOVE IT.
I laugh a little when people say they have a sweet tooth, because it pales in comparison to my ability to suck down a half gallon of ice cream. Without feeling sickness. Or remorse.
Sugar might not be good for you (in fact, it’s pretty ruddy addictive), but at least you know what you’re getting. It’s a mostly pure ingredient if you get the good stuff. If you get something that is sweet, even if it’s a savory sweetness, you can feel safe making absurdly exorbitant bets that sugar of some kind is on the ingredient list somewhere.
Sugar pros and cons aside, as a lover of the cane, there’s one thing I can’t stand: piss-poor sugar impersonators. There are some good ones out there like stevia, but most of them are otherwise ridden with chemicals I don’t want within a mile of my body. Or my cupcakes.
One particular gruesomely-refined, un-researched offender is high fructose corn syrup. In recent years, corn refiners have touted its goodness via down-home commercials and advertisements, but all of that up-talk is just something akin to the whole “nice guy” act: if you have to say how nice you are, you probably aren’t that nice. In fact, you might suck more than average.
Aside from the nice guy act, you know how I know high fructose corn syrup has ill intentions? Because it has approximately seven different names, all of which are utilized on ingredients lists. If you didn’t know any better, you could be eating it in everything, all day, every day. In fact, you probably already are.
HFCS is in almost every bread you buy, unless you buy organic, higher end bread, locally-made loaves, a bread that naturally lacks the need to be sweetened, or something like Pepperidge Farm. The latter is one of the very few “mainstream” brand I’ve seen that packages their bread as “No High Fructose Corn Syrup” then actually holds up their end of the bargain when it comes to reading the ingredients label. Yes, you still have to read the ingredients label, no matter what the front of a package says because guess what? People can put whatever the fuck they want to on a front label. (Alright, alright… to a degree.) They know the general public doesn’t know that just saying something is organic doesn’t mean it’s actually organic. There are standards a food has to meet for everything, and not all those standards are met before someone just slaps a pretty little label on a food’s packaging.
So, what the hell does bread (or any other seemingly rogue food item) need a chemically processed sweetener in it for? I have no idea, but the reasons they give are hilarious. Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable in most of the staple sodas and sweets we all know and love, but there are healthy alternatives out there without this particular sweetener, should you want to make the switch. I should, but I just figure if I’m gonna ingest HFCS, I want it to be in a food that’s SUPPOSED to taste too-fake-sweet. Still, I avoid HFCS in almost everything else I consume, and you wanna know how? I know the witness protection names of the sneaky little rat, and I’m here to share them with you:
1. High-fructose corn syrup
3. Glucose-fructose (has to be labeled JUST like this; in other combinations, it could just mean regular sugar)
I wish I could remember more from my time data-entering nutrition information, but my memory betrays me. I also wish I could find information on the VAST internet about other commonly used “masking” terms for HFCS, but most of the sources I find refer to other types of corn sugars or regular sugars. Isn’t that scary? With as much information as there is on the Internet, someone has gone through a lot of trouble to make it hard to find the truth about HFCS. While I will probably spend days more scouring pages until I find a credible, bountiful source, the general public won’t do that because we’re all in such a rush due to the nature of 21st century life. That’s how it slips in to all your foods unnoticed.
Dirty bastards, right?
Yes, at the end of the day, the commercial actress IS correct: all sugar is sugar. But with natural, unprocessed, simple sugars, you know what you’re putting in your body, and your body knows how to process what’s coming in. The same can’t be said for the Corn Sugar With 50 Names.