Popping myths about corn

By Sara Scheler

April 2, 2014

On any given television network, the American consumer views countless commercials pushing the latest fad diets, health food crazes and exercise regimes. These infomercials tell us what to eat and what not to eat, claiming to give us “guaranteed” advice about which products are the healthiest.

Unfortunately, these commercials often provide the public with incomplete and biased nutrition information based on false reviews and fabricated claims from medical professionals.

The Corn Refiners’ Association, which serves as the U.S.’s national association representing the corn refining industry, recently released a series of commercials in response to the negative press corn has received in recent years. Their commercials have argued against what the CRA considers false claims about topics such as high fructose corn syrup consumption and sugar myths.

With commercials featuring attractive, young actors and catchy taglines such as “sugar is sugar,” these televised rebuttals claim corn syrup and corn oil are natural products because they are made from natural plants.

While it is true that these products are made from plants, illegal drugs and cyanide are also made from plants. The point is that just because a product may come from a natural source, it does not necessarily mean that the product is healthy by any means.

According to the CRA, high fructose corn syrup is “natural, nutritive and versatile.” However, they neglect to include that the human body is not designed to process large amounts of fructose.

Fructose is metabolized differently than glucose and some studies have shown that fructose even has the ability to signal our bodies to start producing its own sugar. Think about that the next time you drink soda!

The CRA also states that corn oil, “Provides essential fatty acids and vitamin E and is a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help regulate blood cholesterol levels and lower elevated blood pressure.”

True, corn oil does contain essential fatty acids, but what the organization forgot to mention is that 98 percent of the fatty acids in corn oil are omega-6 fatty acids. Numerous studies have shown that a 1-to-10 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids are ideal for optimum heart health. However, most Americans consume far too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3.

A higher ratio of omega-6 fatty acids has even been shown to promote cancer and heart disease, so by consuming corn oil, you are actually worsening your health.

Unfortunately, many people buy into such false advertising claims about nutrition. The next time you see an advertisement making a health claim, try to do some personal research to determine whether the company is selling you the whole truth or just trying to sell you their product.