News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


HFCS not unique contributor to obesity


Your Jan. 3 editorial "Gaining or losing weight impacted by today's foods" offers an excellent perspective in the overall assessment that "when it comes to gaining or losing (weight), it's the individual that really makes the decision."

We support your view that consumers need useful information about making healthy lifestyle and nutritional choices, which should include plenty of regular exercise and a balanced diet. We also noted some misplaced concerns expressed about high fructose corn syrup, a natural home-grown sweetener from Midwest corn fields and produced locally in Decatur. Given the public's sensitivity to the issue of obesity, we would like to share some important science-based facts about HFCS with your readers:

HFCS contains approximately equal ratios of fructose and glucose, similar to table sugar. The human body cannot discern a difference between HFCS, table sugar (sucrose) and honey because they are all nearly compositionally equivalent.

In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration listed HFCS as "generally recognized as safe" (known as GRAS status) for use in food, and the FDA reaffirmed that ruling in 1988 and 1996.

Recent mischaracterizations of HFCS as a unique cause of obesity do not represent the consensus opinion of scientific experts. Many parts of the world, including Mexico, have rising rates of obesity despite having little or no HFCS in their foods and beverages due to tariffs and trade policies.

Six months ago, the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Virginia Tech issued a report compiled by scientists who reviewed a number of critical commentaries about HFCS. Their analysis found that HFCS is not a unique contributor to obesity.

For more information about HFCS, we would encourage your readers to please visit .

Audrae Erickson


Corn Refiners Association

Washington, D.C.

Form letter supports animal rights agenda


In all the hoopla over New Year's resolutions, a phony one keeps slipping into print — by way of a form letter. Dante Marquez's Dec. 29 letter ("Resolve to exclude meat from diet") also appeared in at least 44 other U.S. papers recently. These "letters" were all identical; and in each case, a different person "signed" it.

National animal rights groups, desperate to control what's on our dinner plates, manage to place hundreds of propaganda letters like this every year. Watchdogs call them "astroturf," because they artificially mimic "grassroots" support for an issue. Some are designed to whip up fear about mad cow disease. Others chastise parents for feeding milk to their children or — as in this case — attack meat-eaters for not adopting an all-tofu diet.

There's nothing wrong with being a vegetarian — or a Unitarian, or a Libertarian. It's a free country. But if you must pretend to be morally superior because you've vowed to stop eating steak and sausage, the least you should do is use your own words.

David Martosko

Director of Research

Center for Consumer Freedom

Washington, D.C.

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