My first encounter with Lisa Lillien, or Hungry Girl as her fans know her, was via a 100-calorie snack pack my friend was eating. She said she was eating it because Hungry Girl had recommended it in one of her daily newsletters extolling diet advice. I looked at the ingredients. I looked at her. I asked her if it bothered her that most of them were preservatives or synthetically made in a laboratory. She shrugged and said “no.” Judging from Hungry Girl’s success (several books, a Food Network show, a brand spokesperson), apparently many people are willing to make this trade-off: size 4 jeans today, potential health complications tomorrow.
Perhaps you’ve been following the dialogue I’ve been having with Therese Pompa, the social media manager for the Corn Refiners Association. We started speaking after I posted a Saturday Night Live video satirizing a high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) commercial, and then we subsequently exchanged a pair of letters. As you’ll see below in our second exchange of letters, I felt Therese was dodging my concerns about HFCS, and she in turn felt that I am “not trying to have a genuine conversation.”
So let’s have that conversation. Readers, please leave any comments, questions, or concerns below that you have about high fructose corn syrup. As always, please remain respectful and thoughtful in doing so. Therese, feel free to comment yourself, or ask people from your camp to contribute their ideas.
Earlier this week, after posting a “Saturday Night Live” skit that parodied the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup commercials (in which HFCS is presented as “basically equal to sugar” and “fine in moderation”), I was contacted on Twitter by Therese Pompa, the social media manager for the Corn Refiners Association. She sent links that, according to her, refuted my position that HFCS appears to be dangerous to our health and a contributor to America’s health crisis. I asked if she thought it was not disingenuous to have HFCS in salty foods, creating a wider reach for sugar that is essentially hidden in food. Our Twitter conversation is posted here. After the representative asked to speak more in-depth offline, I received this email:
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has an image problem. As this Saturday Night Live parody demonstrates, the HFCS industry has launched a series of commercials over the past year to clarify misconceptions and “state the facts about corn sugar.” That’s right, it’s no longer “high fructose corn syrup,” but “corn sugar”—an almost identical, warm-and-fuzzy twin that will subtly convince you that “sugar” and “corn sugar” are interchangeable ingredients. Wrong.
Last week Congress failed to pass the Child Nutrition Bill. It would have created stronger nutritional standards and provided additional funding for the first time in 30 years. Do you know how much the funding was? Six cents per lunch.
That means that in Los Angeles, for example, the money spent on each school lunch would have risen to 60 cents from 54. In France, they spend more than five dollars on each school lunch. And then we wonder why French women are skinny and we’re not.
Change won’t happen waiting for Congress to get their act together. It has to start at home, with one school, with your child.
Do you really know what a GMO, or Genetically Modified Organism, is? I didn’t. At least not in the way the Non-GMO Project laid it out in a short film I saw last week. Sure, I had been paying attention to the recent protests over the potential and probable introduction of genetically modified salmon into our food system. I knew I didn’t like it, but why specifically?
This is the exact problem that the Non-GMO Project addresses. The biggest issue with fighting genetically modified food is that 1) people don’t really know what it is and what its effects are and 2) even if people are opposed to a GMO, they probably just ate it for breakfast.
This LTBB blog post originally appeared on the cooking blog, Fare La Scarpetta.
So now that you’ve worked up the courage to get in the kitchen again, what are you going to make? I’ll let you in on a secret: if you buy good ingredients, half the work is done for you. Think about it: If you buy fresh, perky asparagus rather than tired, floppy ones, it will taste better even if you do nothing but steam them. One chicken broth brand is watery and tasteless; another is full-flavored and complex. Which would you rather have as a base for your soup?…
This LTBB blog post originally appeared on the cooking blog, Fare La Scarpetta. Image by Anne Taintor.
Drop that “100-Calorie” snack pack. Now read the ingredients on the label. Would your grandmother recognize any of them? (Not to mention that some of those engineered products actually make you gain weight.) I have a good friend who is always eating junk like this to keep herself thin. And when I point out that she can’t tell me what any of the 12-syllable ingredients are, she simply shrugs her shoulders. Have we become that apathetic to the food industry and what it’s churning out for us? Are we so bogged down with day-to-day life that we can’t cook a simple a meal with ingredients that grow out of the ground and not out of a laboratory?…