Blaming HFCS for the Obesity Epidemic Is Narrow Minded

Prairie Gleanings

Have you noticed the scientific articles on obesity never include anything about personal responsibility?

Published on: October 27, 2010
I know this is a novel idea, but is it possible that Americans are overweight because they eat too much and don’t get enough exercise?

Not according to a new “scientific” article in Obesity (an actual research journal). The article places the blame on the shoulders of High Fructose Corn Syrup. It points the finger at soft drinks, saying HFCS is to blame for the country’s obesity epidemic.

As I investigate the HFCS debate for the December Prairie Farmer, I’ve realized there’s one thing that HFCS detractors don’t dare discuss in the obesity epidemic: personal responsibility. In fact, that seems to be a common theme in this country. Don’t like your current situation? Blame everyone but yourself.

Yesterday, I spent a couple hours sifting through Princeton University’s recent study involving feeding HFCS vs. sugar to lab rats. Though I’m not a career scientist, the data seem to be filled with inconsistencies. I’ll explain in detail in the December issue.

Still, there’s one big thing that bothers me about obesity tests involving rats. We don’t know why they overeat.  

Over the past few years, my weight has gone up and down. If I examine it closely, it appears to go down when I’m happier, up when I’m depressed. With my son’s recent diagnosis, I realized that sometimes food is the only thing you look forward too after a rough day.

Point is, society has evolved a great deal from the days of the Depression. Food is plentiful and cheap. Additionally, the 8-hour work day has given us time to eat. I contend that obesity is not an HFCS-cause problem, it’s a societal problem. To say HFCS has caused everyone in the country to get fat is too narrow-minded.

I’ll leave you with one last thought. If we were warped to another universe, where broccoli tasted like ice cream, would folks eat too much broccoli? In that same universe, ice cream would taste like broccoli. However, both foods would retain the same caloric content, i.e. broccoli would still be good for you, ice cream wouldn’t.

So what do you think, do we eat too much unhealthy food because it tastes good, or because we know we shouldn’t?

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