One of the lead editorials of the New York Times went after Big Sugar, which has its hands out waiting to grab even more goodies from Uncle Sam in this year’s farm bill.

Under the current system, the government guarantees a price floor for sugar and limits the sugar supply — placing quotas on domestic production and quotas and tariffs to limit imports. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, sugar supports cost American consumers — who pay double the average world price — more than $1.5 billion a year. The system also bars farmers in some of the poorest countries of the world from selling their sugar here.
The North American Free Trade Agreement is about to topple this cozy arrangement. Next year, Mexican sugar will be allowed to enter the United States free of any quotas or duties, threatening a flood of imports. Rather than taking the opportunity to untangle the sugar program in this year’s farm bill, Congress has decided to bolster the old system.
Both the House bill, which was passed in July, and the Senate version, which could be voted on as early as this week, guarantee that the government will buy from American farmers an amount of sugar equivalent to 85 percent of domestic consumption — regardless of how much comes in from abroad. To add insult to injury, both also increase the longstanding price guarantee for sugar.

As long as the prices stay up on sugar, the more manufacturers will turn to high-fructose corn syrup. The more HFCS people get, the more fructose they consume, the more fructose they consume, the worse their insulin resistance and all that follows. This is not to say that plain old sugar is a health food because it’s certainly not. In fact sucrose (table sugar) provides almost as much fructose as HFCS, so it is probematic as well. But for those who consume huge amounts of sugar – I’m thinking teenagers here with their propensity to drink huge amounts of HFCS-sweetened soft drinks – the difference between the amount of fructose in HFCS and that in sugar add up to pretty large numbers.
It’s good to see that the relatively newly elected Democratic Congress is conducting business as usual, lapping up Big Sugar’s $3 million handout and seeing to it that the status quo is maintained. Too bad we get the trick while Big Sugar gets the treat.


  1. Someone on another post commented about avoiding HFCS, and I had wanted to follow up and say that most people don’t even know how much they are consuming, because it goes under a dozen different names on food labels. Maltose, dextrose, fructose, are all made from corn and added to all sorts of products. Pretty much, anything that comes in a carton to be added to meat, has it. RiceaRoni, Hamburger Helper, ShakenBake(50% !), etc. Plus, fast foods add it to anything and everything as a flavor enhancer. McDonald’s salads have HFCS in the dressing,the croutons and sprayed onto the greens. No wonder my face swelled up when I ate the salads at McD’s! Needless to say, I haven’t eaten there in months, and am now fixing all my meats at home and bringing them to work. I gave up trying to find a fast food I could eat. Heck, they even put HFCS in what passes for cheese!
    Hi LC–
    HFCS is truly ubiquitous. And it wasn’t even around until about 30 years ago. It was brought to us courtesy of our own government and its price supports for Big Sugar keeping the price about double what it is on the world market.

  2. Only part of my comment went through and the system won’t let me go back and edit. What I said was it doesn’t matter nowadays if they are Demorats or Republicans. They’ve all got their hand in the “cookie” jar.
    Sorry about the Captcha trouble.
    And your right about our esteemed leaders. All except Ron Paul. Say what you want about him, the man’s got character.

  3. Dear MRE,
    Speaking of sugar have you seen this tube of Jack Lalanne from about 50 years ago? I’m just about to turn 48 and I distinctly remember that when I was very young that it was common knowledge, and universally understood, that if you wanted to lose weight you had to cut out the sugars and starches.
    And then Ancel Keys happened.
    Hey Laurel–
    Thanks for the great clip. Looks like Jack was on to something.

  4. Very interesting, I had no idea about the propping up of the sugar industry. I also figured HFCS was about the same as sugar…and try to avoid both. Thanks for the info.

  5. Hi Dr. Eades,
    This isn’t really related to this post but I didn’t know where else to ask this question. I’ve eaten near zero carb for the last 15 months and lost about 74 lbs. I just received my blood test lab results and everything looks great. Triglycerides are 43, cholesterol is 186, hdl 53, ldl 124, chol/hdl ratio 3.5. My BUN was marked high at 29 and the bun/creatinine ratio is 29. I forgot to ask my doc what these mean so I’d appreciate your explanation of what these mean and if there’s anything to be concerned about. My doc didn’t bring it up when going over the results so I think there’s not much reason for concern. Also, what is rdwcv?
    Thanks again,

  6. Hi Dr. Eades,
    Please don’t fall prey to Ms. Erickson’s. (President of the Corn Refiners Association) statement that HFCS 55 (55% fructose:45% glucose) is similar to sucrose (50:50). If you do the math
    55/45 = 12.2% excess fructose in drinks which use HFCS as the prime sweetener. Considering that the average teen chugs a few cans a day, that is a lot of extra fructose the body is forced to assimilate. I have been trying to tell everyone about the treachery of HFCS. In doing my research I found a motherlode of information from the Corn Refiners Association. Personally, I don’t think this article was meant for general distribution.
    On page 29 and 30 they list every type of product in which HFCS is used including medicinal syrups, invalid feedings, and shampoo. We have got to get HFCS our of our food supply. Any way of starting a grassroots effort to challenge the CRA?
    Hi Cynthia–
    Never fear, I haven’t fallen prey to the HFCS folks. I just don’t want people to somehow start to believe that regular sugar is a health food.
    BTW, I couldn’t pull up the CRA paper. Are you sure the address is correct?

  7. I remember I used to catch Jack Lalanne whenever I could as a child because I was absolutely fascinated with the way he talked!
    I caught the actual episode where he discussed how he had turned his life around as a young man by getting rid of sugar in his life. He referred to himself as a sugar criminal! Wow, I haven’t thought about that phrase in years. I think it was in the same episode where he counseled mothers to get rid of all sugary things if they wanted to alleviate discipline problems. The connection of sugar to behavior was supposedly debunked by some studies, but after reading Taubes and knowing what I know about the sugar industry, I no longer buy the debunking.
    Anecdotally, as a girl who babysat quite often for money from the age of 12 to 20, I saw for myself how uncontrollable children could become after eating the wrong things.
    Hi LC–
    For what it’s worth, I don’t buy the debunking either.

  8. Hi Dr. Eades,
    I just checked–the address is correct. If you use yahoo
    it lists it as 1. Nutritive Sweeteners from Corn. If you google the address it goes directly
    to the pretty picture of corn syrup being poured from a beaker.
    Oak Park, IL
    The link worked for me this time. Thanks very much.

  9. Hi Dr. Eades,
    It seems my last comment was lost. I asked a question about my most recent blood test re: BUN and the BUN/creatinine ratio. What is BUN and what does it mean if mine was marked high?
    Hi Dave–
    No, your comments weren’t lost – they got caught up in the spam filter for some reason, don’t ask me why. I can’t comment on individual labs and medical situations because if I start I will have a zillion people wanting me to interpret their labs for them. Plus, lab values don’t mean anything without a patient that goes along with them. An slightly elevated BUN can mean many different things: a lot of protein in the diet, a little dehydration, some disorder of the kidney and a few other things. It’s impossible to tell which of these things it might be without knowing your medical history and checking a few other things. I suspect that if your doctor who knows you and your medical history isn’t worried about it, that you shouldn’t either. But I don’t know. If it concerns you, you should discuss it with him/her.

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