Dear Future President:
In the last thirty years, the rate of obesity in the United States has been rising at an unparalleled level in comparison to other countries around the world. Although The United States of America is not the most obese country on Earth, the rate of obesity in our country has been steadily growing at not only a faster, but also more elevated rate than any other. The United States is currently the twelfth most obese country on the planet with a rate of about thirty-eight percent of the population being obese. However, according to experts employed by World Atlas, by the year 2030, if we continue at the pace of the current trend of rising obesity rates, our percentage of obese populous will be between forty-four and forty-five percent. Even in comparison with the projected obesity rates of other countries, at this point, The United States of America would be the second or third most obese nation in the modern world. In order to combat this bleak future, I ask you consider the following−outlawing the use of high fructose corn syrup in the production of foods and other edible products in the United States.
According to an examination of food related statistics performed by Princeton University, high fructose corn syrup’s establishment within the production of “commercialized sustenance” during the mid-1970’s directly correlates with The United States of America’s gradual increase in obesity. Although there were other factors found to correlate with obesity’s increase in The United States, none showed an “r-value” (correlative trend) of nearly 0.92 (92%) like high fructose corn syrup did to obesity. According to the same study, it is incredibly rare that anything correlates at an “r-value” of above in 0.79 in statistics of commercialized products, nonetheless 0.92. Statistically, correlation like this suggests an almost certain relationship between the introduction of high fructose corn syrup and obesity, and it’s not hard to see why; high fructose corn syrup is absolutely terrible for you.
According to Mark Hyman, MD, the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, high fructose corn syrup promotes “obesity, disease, and death across the globe.” He continues to say in his article, “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You,” that high fructose corn syrup and natural cane sugar are not biologically or chemically identical or treated and stored similarly in the body. For starters, while cane sugar, a 50:50 ratio of glucose and fructose, is chemically bonded, and therefore is required to be broken down through digestion to be absorbed by the body, high fructose corn syrup, a 55:45 fructose to glucose ratio, is not chemically bonded, meaning it is not required to be broken down through digestion. This is bad for the body for mainly two reasons. For one, the body doesn’t have to expend energy to digest the high fructose corn syrup, so no calories are burned when ingesting it. The second reason is that because high fructose corn syrup is unbonded, and therefore doesn’t need to be broken down, it is immediately and entirely absorbed into the blood stream when ingested. Because so much of it is absorbed into the blood at once, all the fructose is immediately processed in the liver, triggering a process known as lipogenesis, or the production of fats (the process is a little more specific than that, but this is a general summary; for further information, I highly suggest you read the article I’m pulling from, listed above). The other part of high fructose corn syrup, unbonded glucose, is also absorbed in its entirety almost all at once, causing high spikes in insulin, a fat storage hormone. Hyman says that according to research done by Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, long term effects of both molecules being absorbed so quickly into the blood include, “…increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and more.”
Although it may seem like the problem here is the high fructose corn syrup, I can assure you, it’s not the main issue. The central concern is the willingness of the food industry to use high fructose corn syrup in production of their edible creations. I’m sure the goal of the food industry is not to make Americans unhealthy; however, I am also relatively sure that the food industry doesn’t care much for keeping us healthy either. So, the question becomes, why does the food industry use high fructose corn syrup in their products? The answer? It’s cheaper to produce higher volumes of product with high fructose corn syrup in place of sugar. According to Dr. Bruce Ames, due to government farm bill corn subsides, high fructose corn syrup is cheaper to acquire than regular cane sugar. Although similar in taste, it does not help the situation that high fructose corn syrup is also sweeter than regular sucrose. This means that it is also more efficient to use high fructose corn syrup in place of sugar, because smaller portions of high fructose corn syrup are needed to achieve the same level of sweetness as a similar sized portion of cane sugar. For example, the same size portion of sucrose that makes eight ounces of an unnamed soda will produce twenty ounces of the same soda if high fructose corn syrup is used instead, all while maintaining the same level of sweetness. Because it is not only cheaper to produce sweet foods with high fructose corn syrup in place of sugar, but also more efficient, there is no reason for the food industry to ever stop using this potentially lethal ingredient in their products. This leaves only one solution: banning it.
In 2013, The European Union banned high fructose corn syrup; in 2014, Canada did the same, although only in the production of foods (one can still buy the ingredient separately). Although neither of these states banned the product because of its tendency to increase health difficulties and cause metabolic damage, both have witnessed drops in their respective rates of obesity. In 2013, the average obesity rate in The European Union was twenty-three percent, while as of 2015, that rate has gone down three percent, reaching twenty percent. Similarly, in Canada, as of 2014, the obesity rate was twenty-nine percent. In 2015, Canada’s obesity rate had lowered to twenty-seven percent. While there is currently not enough data to support an “r-value,” it is worth mentioning that the obesity rates in both The European Union and Canada had not decreased by any degree, and had actually continued rising, since 2006 and 2003, respectively, until they banned high fructose corn syrup.
Obesity is a serious problem in The United States, and will continue to be so if we don’t do something about it. Although not being the only contributing factor, high fructose corn syrup is a major influence in the increase of obesity, and banning it in our great country could help save it from a very severe issue. I strongly urge you to make an effort, once you enter office, to help resolve this concern, for the better of the people of The United States of America.
Thank you for the consideration,