What is the news about High-Fructose Corn syrup?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the continuing debate over the cause of obesity and its cure and the elements of a healthy diet--a debate with powerful food, beverage and additive lobbyists doing much more than holding their breath while awaiting the final outcome--there are two new controversial, and contradictory, claims being attributed to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In a report carried by MSN Health News on March 19, 2010 derived from a Duke University Medical Center, news release dated March 18, 2010, science asserts a link established between liver scarring in nonalcoholic liver disease that is attributed to the consumption of corn syrup sweetened soda and other beverages on a daily basis. Corn refiners of course have contested the study suggesting the results were biased since the participants' diets contained many sources of fructose besides HFCS sweetened beverages.

Another news article in the Montreal Gazette, dated July 18, 2010, discusses Michelle Obama's timely campaign against childhood obesity, which leads to life-threatening, life-shortening, and extremely costly diseases like cardiac arrest and type 2 diabetes (the cost may not be of great concern if the child has wealthy parents but when the child is from a working class or poverty class family, the cost of health is staggering and can not usually be supported without government intervention and assistance that allocates costs to the public coffers).

The focus of Michelle Obama's campaign is to advocate a total caloric intake that is accurately balanced by physical exercise. Obama is endeavoring to switch the burden of obesity from off food selection and onto food intake balanced by physical exertion. While this is a truthful and wise advocacy, it may be naive to rule out the correlation between a product introduced about 35 years ago, which has become ubiquitous (all-present) during that time, and an obesity epidemic that began to arise about 35 years ago. Science and wisdom and traditional healthful food habits suggest a combination of calorie intake balanced by exercise and food selection is the only way to restore a waistline and to restore health along with that waistline to America.