Monday, July 9, 2007

Corn Syrup

From Dan: On our recent trip to Canada, I bought a 24 pack of Coca-Cola. I don't usually buy coke except occasionally at restaurants, but this was Canadian coke, which meant that it was made with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. It tasted great, less syrupy and crisper than U.S. Coke.

As a family, we've stopped buying soft drinks almost completely in order to avoid corn syrup, which has been linked to increased obesity in children and adults. We've come to believe that the prevalence of corn syrup in the American diet is directly linked to our country's obesity epidemic.

Why does Coke and almost every other soft drink or candy maker in the U.S. use corn syrup? Because it's cheap. Why is it cheap? Because we all pay to make it cheap, through U.S. Government subsidies to corn growers and processors. Indeed, the NY Times on July 4, 2007 reported that, due to farm subsidies, "Between 1985 and 2000 the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables increased nearly 40 percent while the price of soft drinks decreased by almost 25 percent".

Why do we tolerate this? We need to stop subsidizing corn, corn and more corn. Sure, kids need to turn off the TV and go outside and play. But they also need a better choice of foods that won't negatively affect their health for the rest of their lives.

Not that we needed another reason to move to Canada...
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