Children of the corn

corn

Despite being panned by Siskel and Ebert in 1984 when this Stephen King-adapted movie was released, I was surprised to learn that “Children of the Corn” made more than $14M (on a budget of $800k), and there were seven, yes seven, sequels! The original movie is terrifically awful, but more recently the title makes me think of kids today who are probably now made from 99.99% corn. Bread products, meat fillers, frying oils, breading for fried things that go in frying oils, ketchup that goes on the fried things fried in frying oil, soup, pudding, yogurt, baked goods, milk, and mayo. And, the showstopper, feed for the CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) animals most Americans eat. They all have corn.

I have this picture in my head of scary children dressed in drab brown farmer’s clothes running around a small town being eaten by corn plants or killing one another by forcing feeding each other large quantities of soda. The children of the corn are going to get you with their high fructose corn syrup – run, run for your lives!

In Nutrition class, I was surprised to learn that in 2014 nearly half of the sugar we ate and drank in America came from corn – up only about 280% since 1966.

Sugar, I just want to warn you in case you haven’t gotten the memo, you have target on your back, and the American food media monster is coming to consume you (is that just too bad of a pun?!). Ok, the American food media monster is coming to eat you!

Sugar is the new fat…as Mark Bittman wrote, “butter is back.” Sugar, you are our latest beelzebub – one of the princes of hell itself. Run, run for your lives…AGAIN!

As usual, we are properly freaking out about sugar. Just in February last year, the FDA proposed an update to the Nutrition Facts label printed on foods, partly to include a breakdown on sugars. You would see total sugar grams, and then under that grams of added sugar. From this, you could then know that that large, approximately 223 gram apple you are eating has 23 grams of sugar, but zero added (well, unless there is a caramel coating). You can see a sample label here: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm387418.htm.

With such sarcasm in my tone, you may think I’m going to go on and proclaim that sugar is fine, especially from corn – hooray! I’m not.

Here is another sugary fact I learned in Nutrition class: sucrose is the combination of fructose (the sugar found in fruits) and glucose (the primary energy source for our cells). Every type of added sugar is some combination of fructose and glucose, although some have more fructose than glucose in their sucrose. Are you ‘osed’ out yet?! The issue here is that all sugar, if eaten in excess, is stored as fat and fructose is more likely than glucose to make that fat.

So when you go to your neighborhood, big box grocery store and think you deserve a gold star, A+++ for buying agave syrup over granulated sugar, you may be just making yourself fatter. That is because agave syrup can be as much as 4:1 fructose to glucose, depending on the producer, where beet or cane-derived sugars, and yes, the elephant demon in the room, high fructose corn syrup, are 1:1 and 1.2:1, respectively.

Another, and significantly more major, way we are packing on the pounds with sugar is not even the sugar we eat. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR…according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (produced by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services) 50% of the sugar we consumer, WE DRINK!

Let’s reflect on that for a moment…35.7% from soda and energy drinks, 10.5% from fruit drinks, and 3.5% from tea. Good lord, people – you are drinking yourselves to death and you’re not even getting a buzz!

There are so many angles and approaches to this topic it makes me nauseous. Sugar bad. Butter good. Corn sugar bad. Carbs bad. Whole grains good (no matter if they refine them first and add back five good nutrients when they took out like 40! I guess that’s for another article.)

My point in this rant is…WHEN CAN WE STOP THE FOOD MADNESS MERRY-GO-ROUND?!

Come on, America, I know you are busy, but you are also fat and lazy. When will you realize that you, damn it, can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Health doesn’t come in a food label or from the government or from not eating high fructose corn syrup. Stop demonizing food – it’s the best thing on this f*#king planet – so start enjoying it…in moderation.

Oh no, not that! I know that’s not at all what you want to hear, but when is moderation and variety and enjoying food (especially with others) going to be at the top of the MyPlate Food Guide and trending on food television instead of the latest food ingredient demon? What next? Someone is going to figure out how protein is bad? Go for it…

I’m guessing you’d like a corn recipe right about now – ’tis the season!

GET MY GRILLED CORN AND CHEDDAR SOUFFLE RECIPE HERE

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