Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meet enemy number one

As I drove to the office today, I caught part of an interview with an author. Normally, author interviews bore me to death. This one, had it been any typical authoritative topic, would have been the same had it not been for the title of the book, "Skinny Bitch".

Sure, the book is geared towards women but if I remember my science classes accurately men are basically 49% female so I kept listening.

It turned out to be basically a diet book but the most interesting chapter that sparked discussion was about my favorite type of humor, toilet humor. Pooping to be specific.

Pooping is a subject near and dear to my heart. I like it so much that I sometimes deal the fudge twice in one day.

Pooping, too, is the secret to being healthy. Eating fiber, said the author, is the key to having those oh-so-satisfying movements (and not in the Beethoven sense). She went on, after one of the wacky morning zoo DJs asked a serious question about fruit juice, to explain that the most hated substance in the world by yours truly, high fructose corn syrup, is in nearly every product we eat and that, contrary to popular belief, the fake sweeteners in diet sodas are actually worse than those used in the full calorie sodas. That was news to me but it makes sense that putting something man-made into your body is sort of, well, dumb. It would be equal to drinking Drano and expecting to feel great after doing so.

After hearing that, I'm not going to do much to change my ways. I've cut back to one can of soda per day and I hate the diet brands so I'm in luck there. My precious V-8 Splash juice which I religiously guzzle for breakfast might go by the wayside ans I discovered that its second ingredient -- before any fruit or vegetable juices -- is high fructose corn syrup.

Why is the American food industry so reliant on that particular sweetener? When did it gain its like dominance and dethrone the king of all sweeteners -- sugar -- from its high power? Why did the author being interviewed feel the need to mention that some women (we all know that women don't poop) only drop the Browns off at the Super Bowl twice weekly?


Brooke said...

Oh NO! I live for diet soda, this is very bad news...

I love you aspartame, why can't you love me???

Countess B said...

I read a blog about this very topic yesterday. I, however, have decided to stay in denial. I can only take so much water before my eyes start floating. I limit myself to one diet coke a day.

And the high fructose corn syrup......

I don't know what to can I avoid it? It's everywhere.

I don't have time to shop for items without it. I'm lucky I have time to shop for any groceries.

pissed off patricia said...

I've never had a diet soda for the very reason talked about here. My feeling is everything in moderation and you'll be fine.

I am a skinny bitch but just because it's in my genes, not because I try to be. The bitch part comes easy to me too. :)

Brendan said...

I'm with Brooke: You'll take away my aspartame when you pry it out of my cold, dead gut. So it metabolizes to formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that the body cannot excrete. So what? I love the way Diet Coke tastes.

As for why HF corn syrup is so dominant, I'd say there are several reasons: At first glance, it's because it's cheaper than cane sugar. This has to do with a lot of complications, some of which are: strange political attitudes towards Cuba (and probably some other countries) that result in high sugar tariffs; the excess capacity for growing corn (well, until the ethanol craze got legs); and the clout of the agribusiness lobby. ADM, CPC, and probably some others work very hard to rig the system to preserve the price advantage for HF corn syrup.

There are probably other reasons: at least one that I'd speculate would be that HF corn syrup is easier to deal with as part of a manufacturing stream. When you're making food products in million-unit lots, taste and health considerations tend to be downplayed.

One point of contention, Sornie: I usually like author interviews, if they are not the five-minute pimp-my-book type. Do you ever listen to NPR's "Fresh Air?" Lots of good ones there. I think it has to do with the interviewee being asked questions that s/he has been thinking about almost exclusively for the past year.

Sornie said...

CUrious Brendan, what time of the day/week is "Fresh Air" on?

Brendan said...

Sornie --

Fresh Air airs (heh) Monday through Friday. (Some stations also carry "Fresh Air Weekend" on Saturday or Sunday, which is a "best of" from the week just past (passed? Help me, please, grammarians).

The Fresh Air air time (okay, I'm gonna stop now) varies, depending on your local NPR station. In most places I've lived, it airs at 7:00 pm. Some stations run it as early as 3:00 pm (Eastern time), which means they're running the live feed from WHYY in Philadelphia, whence the program emanates.

I think I remember from reading this fine blog that you live in or near Minneapolis. If so, this page lists the stations that you should be able to hear, along with links to their respective sites. Follow any of those for the programming schedule.

If I remembered wrong about where you live, visit this page and enter your zip code.

These days, I mostly listen to Fresh Air over the Web (which likely upsets Ted Stevens, but we won't go there right now). I get the new stuff via podcast, and wallow in the archives via stream or direct MP3 download. (NPR is truly amazing for audio archives, which is why all good Republicans believe their funding should be cut.) More info on all this can be found on Fresh Air's home page.

Brendan said...

My OCD compels me to apologize for the unbalanced parentheses in paragraph 1 of my last comment.

Please accept this: )

Bridget Jones said...

Have been anorexic twice--not fun. Sugar's everywhere but probably not by's one of the most highly traded commodities in the world. The acid in both diet and normal sodas is, well, I guess a dentist's best friend!!!