T.V. commercials often make me laugh even when they’re not meant to. Sometimes I can envision a gaggle of suited execs sitting around a high gloss conference table thinking of new and exciting ways to convince us their product will make our lives better, improve our sex drive or make our toilet bowls really, really sparkle so when our dogs drink out of it or our kids play in it, they won’t get cholera.. My faves are the ones that strive to educate us blithering idiots out here in TV-land that something that’s not good for us really is good for us. I love those. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked.
In my not too distant past, I did a research paper on high fructose corn syrup and how it’s made its way into just about everything we eat. I think I called it “Slipping Us the Mickey” or something befitting the cynical bitch I often morph into when I’m being poked with an idiot stick. I’ll recap a recent television commercial in my own paraphrased way while still capturing the brilliant message:
Two lovely suburban women – we’ll call them Mary Jo and Bev – are at a picnic. Mary Jo offers Bev a syrupy red substance from a beautiful crystal pitcher. “Oh, not thanks, that contains high fructose corn syrup. I’ve heard it’s bad for you,” Bev tells her pushy friend. Mary Jo scoffs at silly, uninformed Bev. “It’s just the same as sugar, and completely safe….. in moderation.” Bev breaths a sigh of relief and accepts a tall, frosty glass of the syrupy red liquid from her well-educated friend. “And besides,” Mary Jo assures her, “It’s made from corn.” The announcement at the bottom of the ad, in miniscule letters reads: Sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association.
Yes, Mary Jo, HFCS is indeed made from corn but so are certain plastics and alternative fuels but I don’t recall snacking on Tupperware and chasing it with a pint of ethanol lately. What made me laugh the hardest was the comment about “moderation.” If you go to your local mainstream supermarket with really high-powered eye glasses and read the content labels on… let’s say, bread; you’ll find that HFCS is in about 90% of every brand you pick up even if they claim to be heart healthy, are made with “whole wheat” and have cute renderings of wholesome nuts and grains printed into the packaging. (p.s. sugars of any kind are known to raise triglyceride levels –the bad dudes lurking in your arteries which generally means the ticker could be in danger if you eat too much of it). I’m telling you, kiddos, this crap is everywhere and in things you’d never even suspect.
So, I have just one question for those corn dudes: When your product is in virtually every food group known to man, what exactly IS moderation?