High-Fructose Debate 

Yours truly criticized high-fructose corn syrup and suggested U.S. farm subsidies should be adjusted to encourage healthy eating and “make concoctions like high-fructose corn syrup just a scary memory” (see “What Sin Would You Tax?,” City Weekly, Jan. 13). The president of the Corn Refiners Association (see “Corn is Cool,” City Weekly, Jan. 20), provided “misleading” information in response, according to one reader.

The lobby group said high-fructose corn syrup is not subsidized, which technically is true, but “misleading,” according to online commenter Sonny.

“Manufacturers of corn syrups may not receive subsidies but corn growers do,” Sonny wrote, “more than almost all other subsidies, which makes their product incredibly cheap for the corn syrup manufacturers.”

Sonny then proceeded to attack beef subsidies, claiming that they also receive too much government support. Sonny then says, “both subsidies are why America is so obese.”

Corn subsidies have made sweeteners cheaper. To what degree that has contributed to supermarkets being filled with products containing added sweeteners is open for debate. To what degree added and/or artificial sweeteners contribute to the American obesity and diabetes crises is also open, but I have a hard time swallowing that they are not contributors. It seems reasonable for government to reduce subsidies that lower the price of sweeteners to the consumer. Let’s create market conditions that discourage companies from adding sweeteners to non-sweet products—like salad dressing—and already sweet products, like frozen fruit.

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Jesse Fruhwirth

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