Corn versus Sugar

When I arrived in California, shopping was a nightmare. The supermarkets are just so big, that every shopping trip was like an adventure race and it would take me always 2 hours to emerge out of the danger zone. Well, that mainly happened, because I did not know the products and to find my foods I had to read the labels and test.

The testing was not that successful, I soon realised that the non-fat and low or no sugar product tasted absolutely revolting. I should have bought the proper products from the start. The uneatable foods started to pile up in our kitchen cupboards.

Amongst these products you could find sugar free syrup, fat free cheese and diary free ice-cream. That was just a joke. I soon decided to stick to the foods I know, which I am usually not tending to do, since I always want to experience new foods. So I developed a road map through the supermarket that leads me to the breads, wines, diaries and fresh food section and completely ignored the isles for the processed or frozen foods. Sticking to my directions I can be in and out the supermarket in 20mins now.

The taste of food in California got me thinking and one day I asked my work colleague what he thinks about food. Simon, an Austrian fellow explained to me that Americans don’t really use sugar in their products, they subsidize sugar with a cheap staple called corn: corn starch, corn syrup, corn sugar, corn, corn corn…Simon and I walked to the snack cupboard in the kitchen of the office and started to read the labels of all the snacks – muesli bars, chocolate bars, cookies etc. I could not believe it, every snack had a form of corn in it. I don’t think we found one, which had real sugar. My snacks, from then on consisted of nuts.

Every part of the corn is used, partly it is feed to livestock, so basically we eat corny beef and the other part goes into processed food. Every part of a corn kernel is considered valuable. The yellow skin becomes vitamins and nutritional supplements. The germ is crushed for corn oils. And the endosperm, the body of the kernel, is full of carbohydrates that are broken down and rearranged into organic compounds like acids, sugars, starches, and alcohols (Corn fed America, 2007).

Check this, even Coca Cola has subsequently replaced sugar with this corn product and Pepsi followed, just to save a few pennies. At lower cost, drinks and meals then went super-sized. Ah, that is the explanation for the large food portions. Get it! If you are keen to read more about the corn problem in the States, please refer to this article: “Corn fed America” from 2007.

Real sugar is basically white gold. The corn product is a substitute has much more carbohydrates and is harder to digest then real sugar. At one stage I was wondering whether that was the reason I gained so much weight in the States, or whether I was just enjoying myself.

Simon suggested watching a documentary about the food industry in America ‘Food Inc’. I have watched it and my life has changed. This movie explains the problem of corn, meat and soya. If you get the chance I would highly recommend watching this movie.

What are your experiences with the almighty “Corn”?



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