July 03, 2006
Crack for Kids
So it looks like high-fructose corn syrup is getting off the hook for our country's obesity epidemic. This article in today's New York Times argues that it is no worse for us than sugar. But really, that is not saying much. After all, sugar is what makes us fat. No matter what Dr. Atkins might say, the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than we consume. Trust me, I've done it. I have also gained weight, and the only way to do that is to consume more calories than we burn. Of course, everything we eat has calories in it. But with most foods, we get something else along with the calories: nuts give us fat and protein, meat contains minerals, and fruits and vegetables are an important source of vitamins. Not so with sugar. Sugar, in all its forms -- fructose, sucrose, lactose, galactose, dextrose, really anything ending in -ose -- is a pure source of calories. Nutritionally unnecessary. Not to mention highly addictive -- crack for kids. So high-fructose corn syrup may not be any worse for us nutritionally than sugar, but sugar is already bad enough. And what does make corn syrup worse is that it is significantly cheaper than sugar, which encourages us to consume it in larger quantities.
And, speaking of obesity, this article just blew my mind. I was shocked to read that the CDC refrains from labeling children obese, even those in the 100th weight percentile, telling them instead that they are "at risk for being overweight." It sounds rather Orwellian. We have an epidemic of childhood obesity, but nobody is telling the children who are obese. I recognize the importance of not making children unnecessarily self-conscious about their weight, but how can those who need to lose weight do so if they aren't even told they have a problem?
Posted by eklanche at July 3, 2006 07:25 PM