Thursday, April 10, 2008


The other day I was watching Current TV, and there was a segment about a new documentary called King Corn. Two filmmakers chronicled their decision to move to Iowa to grow an acre of corn. They realized that their acre of corn would be consumed by Americans in many forms of our favorite foods. This short segment, which can be seen here, really opened my eyes to how important corn is to our society. I just never thought about this very much before watching this…corn=high-fructose corn syrup=candy, soda, juice, HALF OF MY FRIDGE!! Yeah! I got curious, ran to my kitchen and started looking at the ingredients of some of my favorite foods. The base ingredient of so many tasty treats in my kitchen was high-fructose corn syrup. It made me sick to think that I ate that much…sweetness!

I looked up more info on this film, and didn’t feel any better. You can watch another piece from the film here, which shows the two filmmakers actually making corn syrup from scratch. This piece also gives some really disgusting facts about our corn-syrup-lovin’-American-asses. According to the research done by the King Corn guys, over the past three decades our consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has increased 1,000%! Also during this time, our consumption of table sugar has fallen, but consumption of sweeteners has gone up 30%. That increase is due to the widespread usage of high-fructose corn syrup as a replacement sweetener for sugar. Sugar is more expensive for us to get here in the U.S., so high-fructose corn syrup is a cheaper and easier alternative. We grow all the corn ourselves in the U.S., therefore we never need to rely on anyone else to give us the sweetener we need. It all comes from the corn.

So in the end, I came to an understanding about how much sweetener I put in my body. I’m not going to stop eating anything with corn syrup as an ingredient, but I sure am going to think about it more. And I want to encourage others to do the same. Stop and think about how much sweetener is going into your body. Diabetes is everywhere in my family, and it just scares me to think about how much glucose is running through my body and the unhealthy foods that put it there. We are all aware of the high rates of obesity in this country too. So, for this guerilla media spectacular, I wanted to make others aware of how much high-fructose corn syrup is in the food we eat.

In an attempt to shed some light on corn syrup, I thought I should try to intervene the purchasing of products with high levels of high-fructose corn syrup. So I decided to go where people buy food. With a package of bright colored labels, I set out to the grocery store down the street from my house with facts from King Corn about our consumption of corn syrup.

Labels= $7. I wrote on the labels the facts from King Corn about the increasing percentages of corn syrup in our diets, and just the basic fact that it is the base ingredient for many foods consumed every day. At the end of each fact, I wrote, “How much high-fructose corn syrup is in your shopping cart?”

Bright labels, stuck to shopping cart handles. You can’t miss it! While keeping a look out for "the man," it took me less than 5 minutes to stick a bunch of labels to shopping carts sitting around in the parking lot.
I hope this adventure of mine sparks an interest in the rest of you readers to go check out your own fridges and cabinets. I'm also thinking of going corn-syrup-free sometime this weekend. I will update everyone on how that goes. For more info on King Corn, go here. The documentary will be airing on PBS April 15th at 10 p.m. Check it out, and let me know if you want to go corn-syrup-free also! We can share our results!

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