The Threshold between Health and Coke-classic Soft drink Beverage

I have to admit, I wondered about that other side.  More to the point, I thought as I could only speculate: How much cash blurs the moral of the Audrae-Erickson-s out there – and the ‘serving-the-public-interests’ elected officials.  Think back to the smoking-isn’t-bad-for-you days, if you’re that age, and if not that senior, the history of slime is something to read, and sadly history is repeating itself it seems.  For those not following the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) sweetener, and gulp down Coke (“classic”) on a regular basis, the disclaimer here I offer is a simple one: I have been around long enough to know, big business has the con game down pat, and every day I hear and see the handy work of Audrae Erickson’s Corn Refiners Association (CRA) – thus HFCS is poison.  If delusion of ‘naturalness’ propagated by CRA is keeping you blissful, and reality not your thing, stop reading this and go grab some more poison.  I am a true advocate of choice, if I am anything.  If however, you’re looking to bring high fructose corn syrup into focus, please, read on.  This blog entry is a tale, written with every intention to be objective and truthful.  It pulls together many different articles within academic journals, as well ‘news’ articles – going back to the 1960’s and noting perspectives up till, today.  As an adult college student at CSULA, this first needs to be explained:  Coughing, sniffling, and other allergic reactions witnessed time and time again, and each time I observed this syndrome about the students, and it wasn’t flu-like doing; the student was drinking HFCS laced beverage, as if it were water.  Smoking maybe, your thinking right? Nope.  Specifically; two cases are students I know and see daily, not living with me as roommates, but close by.  Both don’t smoke.  My first year in college, the student pool had some obesity going on.  As a senior, I can attest the rate of student obesity has exploded, at least two hundred percent.  Let’s not assume, Audrae Erickson and CRA the epitome of evil, but rather, we can assume big business fixates on the bottom line, and way less on the ballooning bottoms.  The results of which has been disastrous.  Well, profitable for a few, but disastrous for many. Could it be the simple case of the feeble-minded consumer, unable to grasp that common sense intake threshold, or is something else at work – drilling away, as big tobacco, through the word shell-game?  You be the judge.  The first shell piece, quantity.  The next at play, quality.

Providing CRA the benefit of the doubt is how one should first come at the ingredient debate.  They make it, from corn, they should know.  Has diabetes and obesity manifestation occurred along the same general timeframe as the introduction HFCS into snacks? Yes.  Does that mean, this synthesized fructose, caused directly or indirectly increased cases of diabetes and obesity? No. Of course not.  Does it indicate a relationship? Yes.  Of course it does.  The job of big business, in this case, as the case with tobacco, is to keep the abounding indications, apart.  Again, Audrae Erickson is probably paid a pretty penny to do just that.  Because of that, there are two camps.  There isn’t enough money to put me, in her camp.  Citing the March, 2010 Consumer Reports article by Anonymous “Nutrition experts vs. industry, and both say they’re right” in the matter of quantity, Erickson explains the position of Corn Refiners Association, this way “The Corn Refiner’s ad campaign cites a “recommended daily allowance” of added sugars, but there’s no such thing. It would be fine to consume no added sugars.  The group’s president, Audrae Erickson, told us the term is used because consumers won’t understand “threshold.”” Consumer Reports. Yonkers: Mar 2010. Vol. 75, Iss. 3; p. 11 Not my words, you can look it up if ya like.

On to quality of ingredient, and for that first here’s Erickson again, this time in March, 2010 USA Today article “Nutrition experts vs. industry, and both say they’re right” by Nanci Hellmich, a quote of this ingredient sold as natural, “As far as the debate between sugar and HFCS, she says, “there has been a lot of peer-reviewed research demonstrating that all sugars are handled similarly by the body, whether they come from corn, cane or beets. “The association is running an ad campaign “correcting the record on highfructose corn syrup,” Erickson says.”  In a keen and sadly rare journalist fashion Hellmich imported the response of the sugar industry, “[..] the Sugar Association says that “recent efforts by manufacturers of HFCS to position their product as ‘not different than’ and ‘nutritionally equal’ to sugar are false and misleading. … Sugar exists naturally in almost every fruit and vegetable, but most abundantly in sugar cane and sugar beets.””

But wait, there is so much more to this fight, and it’s really shaping up to be that good versus evil model.  Web sites, television commercial spots, and let’s not forget lobbying our ‘serving the public interest’ (as in public traded stocks, maybe) elected officials.  A rundown; from countless studies stemming back to the 1960’s G. Neale, M. Clark, and B. Levin, questioning fructose to be natural, the databases on campus, teaming with indicators that Erickson is lying, in some ways worse than tobacco mouth pieces ever did.  Some fifty years after G. Neale, M. Clark, and B. Levin, fifty plus (1996) —  specific of the ingredient ‘naturally’ affecting the liver and intestines, “The ‘hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome’ is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and comprises a wide spectrum of stages of liver disease ranging from simple steatosis to liver cirrhosis. NAFLD of different stages is found in ∼30% of adults and ∼20% in the US population.  Not just a general overnutrition but also an elevated intake of certain macronutrients such as fat and carbohydrates and herein particularly has been claimed to be risk factors for the development for NAFLD; however, the etiology of this disease is still unknown.  The present review outlines some of the potential mechanisms associated with the development of NAFLD and fructose intake with a particular focus on the role of the intestinal barrier functions.  Spruss, A., & Bergheim, I. (2009).  “Dietary fructose and intestinal barrier: potential risk factor in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease”  Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry,  20(9), 657-662. doi:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2009.05.006.  Another, indicating liver function in relation to this ‘natural’ ingredient, “We conclude that even moderate consumption of fructose -containing liquids may lead to the onset of unfavorable changes in the plasma lipid profile and one marker of liver health, independent of significant effects of sweetener consumption on body weight.” Figlewicz, D., Ioannou, G., Bennett Jay, J., Kittleson, S., Savard, C., & Roth, C. (2009).  “Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat” Physiology & Behavior, (5), 618-624. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.09.016.  How about the heart?  “heightened cardiovascular risk” associated with High Fructose Corn Syrup, Lee, J., Xu, Y., Li, L., Bergman, B., Leitner, J., Greyson, C., et al. (2010). “Multiple abnormalities of myocardial insulin signaling in a porcine model of diet-induced obesity.”  American Journal of Physiology: Heart & Circulatory Physiology, 67(2), H310-H319. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00359.2009.

While a good stream of other sources fail to paint the rosy picture that Erickson painted, here is where, if you already haven’t connected it, things become good versus evil: the shell-game.  On one slight of hand, the /quality/ hand; there could be no way, unless we get the body count that cigarettes produced, that CRA gets nailed for selling poison.  For every study, the lobbying and PR will, like tobacco (thanks Ronald Reagan), just ratchet up the money poured in, as there so much more of a killing to be made – the murders of these folk Erickson will probably never meet face to face – all done legally.  The second slight of hand, the /quantity/ hand, exasperates the already questionable activity, to the point of being evil.  Again, legally.  It’s a free country here in America, and no one is physically forcing more than CRA’s /understanding/ of “threshold” into the consumer.  Who pray-tell, is standing up for that blindsided consumer, and against that onslaught of misinformation.  That camp is not a big one, at least not a big camp in California.  “Big Soda [..] spent at least $18 million on lobbying and millions more in campaign donations to Congress. […]  Last week, I introduced a bill to tax high fructose corn syrup and other sugars added to soft drinks, fruit juices and sports beverages–a penny for each teaspoon of sweetener. It would generate as much as $1.5 billion a year for parks, recreation and school programs to combat childhood obesity. California, after all, spends $41 billion a year in health care costs related to its overweight citizens.  Even in a state mythically bent toward the cutting edge, passing a soda tax won’t be easy. Big Soda will bristle at any suggestion that Christina Aguilera (who has since traded her Coke creds for the Pepsi Generation) is another Joe Camel. […] The day will come, as it did for tobacco, when the illogic of drinking a can of soda each day will be clear: high concentrations of sweetener delivered in deceptive doses make us fat; fat turns into disease; disease becomes early death.”  Sen. Dean Florez

Refiners Association, for me, isn’t completely erased from that benefit of doubt, even as the indicators ring “POISON,” I should mention in closing.  Stranger things have happened providing an example of the good ebbing over greed.  That said; every time I hear that sniffle, that cough and every time I see that bloat, and continue the registration of other study indications that high fructose corn syrup plays a significant role in the demise of real human beings; that benefit of doubt further erodes, and my distain for careless pitch people, increases.  The battle lines are drawn, two camps.  The First Lady – well, she heads the one for a healthier tomorrow, as well others, some are dedicated in mapping the biological truth.   Then there are others, beholding that other camp.  For that camp, it’s about shell-games.  It’s about making a killing.  Think about that shell-game next time you pick up that Coke-cola ‘classic’ soft-drink.  You know what time it is.  Hit me up, and tell me what’s up with this crazy world.  Might there be that other side, just not making sense.


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