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Compare and Contrast: HFCS and Sugar - Essay Example

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The arguments opposed to the constant use of HFCS might have been done in good spirit for the benefit of our nation’s health, but the truth is that the amounts of HFCS and sugar alike need to be decreased for any changes in our collective health to be seen…
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Compare and Contrast: HFCS and Sugar
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Download file to see previous pages The battle between high fructose corn syrup and sugar has been waging strongly since HFCS became a staple in our daily diet. Michael Pollan’s “The Alcoholic Republic and the Republic of Fat” takes us on a journey through the timeline of HFCS, showing its beginning in the farms of America and where the majority of it will end up: in our fat cells. Pollan compares the obesity epidemic to the surge of alcoholism in the nineteenth century, stating that “the Alcoholic Republic has . . . given way to the Republic of Fat; we’re eating today much the way we drank then” (par. 6). Both republics came about as a result of an overabundance of inexpensive HFCS, except that obesity is now considered an epidemic, because “when food is abundant and cheap, people will eat more of it and get fat” (par. 8), a declaration that has proven itself to be true. To make the health concerns of our nation more dire, it was assumed that cheap HFCS would lessen our need for sugar, which would be a positive step in maintaining healthy diets, but instead “our consumption of refined sugar actually went up by five pounds” (par. 11). High fructose corn syrup, once America’s answer for a cheap sweetener, has only increased the average American’s lust for sweetness, gradually making HFCS and sugar the enemies of every American’s diet.
One of the startling similarities between high fructose corn syrup and sugar, a key fact that few people are aware of, is that both are equally dangerous to one’s health. During the past decade, America has started to crack down on the horrible diets that have been plaguing the human race. Part of the effort to make people more food-conscious was to reveal the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, which was primarily done in an attempt to curb obesity in sweets-craving children, and partially to help sugar rise above its shrinking sales. However, many of these arguments failed to mention that sugar is just as damaging to one’s health as HFCS. If a doughnut manufacturer switches sugar for HFCS, their product will continue to have the same percentage of sweetener, regardless of what product they decide to use. The change from sugar to HFCS may benefit the wallets of the manufacturer and the consumer, but their health is still put at risk. As such, high fructose corn syrup is not the only enemy, but any calorie-ridden, sweetened food product made from HFCS or otherwise. Despite the turmoil that both HFCS and sugar bring to our bodies, HFCS is doing the most damage given its inexpensive cost, making it more common in our foodstuffs. In our money-hungry nation, the overwhelming belief when it comes to food seems to be that cheaper is always better, but, over the years, this have proven to be further from the truth. This is a little known difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar, one that Michael Pollan points out repeatedly in his article, stating that “the astounding productivity of American farmers proved to be their own worst enemy, as well as a threat to public health” (par. 4). The inexpensive product from these farmers made it more affordable for manufacturers to produce their own wares, thus making the majority of our own food wants and needs more monetarily attainable. As a result, we feel that the more we can afford, the more we can buy, which then translate into the more we can eat. Products made with sugar are more expensive, so these tend to go avoided by consumers. Products that use high fructose corn syrup are significantly cheaper by comparison, making consumers believe that they can afford more, meaning they will be eating more than if they bought the expensive sugar-based products. HFCS may be padding our wallets, but this alternative to sugar is also padding our bodies, showing that cheap is not always better when the health of our nation is at stake. Before the nineteenth century, and prior to our own generation, sugar was a a staple used in daily cooking, but an occasional treat in snacks that was not considered ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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