Left of Center: By Yukkione: My Corruptco blogfest entry
My Corruptco blogfest entry
Monday, February 27, 2006
Time : 8:23 AM

My choice for Corruptco Blogfest is ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) This is the company that is one of the world’s largest agricultural processors of soybeans, corn, wheat and cocoa. The word Processor is key here, as they don't actually grow these crops, they just break them down into their base chemical properties, and then reconfigure them into other things. Think of them as a DOW chemical for food. So of course chemistry is not inately bad, why have I picked ADM as my “Corruptco”? The reason is simple, they are destroying the health of people in the US and world wide via the ingestion of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Why is HFCS bad? Why should I care? Who is Nelson Chang? Health Insurance companies are saying that the rise in health care cost is nearly directly related to the rise in obesity in Americans. Several things contribute to this. We are increasingly inactive, and get less exercise than we did in previous years, and we ingest tons of HFCS. Of course ADM has nothing to do with our high levels of inactivity, but they do make HFCS.. lots of it. It's cheaper than “real” sugar, and much more harmful.

Producing HFCS requires quite a lot of chemistry. It uses genetically modified bacteria, and fungus to chemically alter the starches found in corn. Corn is our most widely grown crop next to soy beans, and wheat. Corn is cheap to use as food because farmers are subsidized by our government to grow it. (one reason Bush's ethanol plan is crap. It's actually a net energy loser, and because of the subsidy isn't really as cheap as it looks.) many of the processes that go into making HFCS have huge tanks and vats with clumps of genetically altered bacteria and or Fungus floating on top. The result is a thick syrup comprised of Fructose and Glucose.

So why is this stuff bad for me, and why does it make me fat? Of course we're talking about different types of Sugar. Glucose is used easily by the body. When it enters the body it is metabolized, and the body produces insulin to regulate levels in the blood. glucose kicks off a cascade of biochemical reactions. It increases production of insulin by the pancreas, which enables sugar in the blood to be transported into cells, where it can be used for energy. It increases production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite and fat storage, and it suppresses production of another hormone made by the stomach, ghrelin, that helps regulate food intake. It has been theorized that when ghrelin levels drop, as they do after eating carbohydrates composed of glucose, hunger declines. Of course too much is bad, but all in all glucose is easy for the body to use, and not as harmful as it's cousin Fructose. Fructose however act completely differently in the body. It acts for like a fat than a sugar. It's use does not prompt the body to produce insulin, so the blood sugar level is not regulated. It doesn't increase leptin production or suppress production of ghrelin. That suggests that consuming a lot of fructose, like consuming too much fat, could contribute to weight gain.

So what are the consequences? The center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that obesity cost the US $75 Billion dollars annually. It costs all of us because of health care premiums, time off work, uninsured health costs, and general quality of life issues. The HFCS industry is said to make about 7 to 10 billion dollars per year, but this substance is costing us over 75 Billion. Cheap calories are killing us, as well as inactivity. However, when everything we eat is pumped full of HFCS it's difficult to avoid, from cookies and meat products to soft drinks. An interesting fact it that since artificial sweeteners like Nutrasweet came on the market, the use of HFCS has actually increased dramatically.

ravings of a semi-sane madwoman also has a tie in with ADM. Seems that the Cocoa industry on the Ivory Coast of Africa uses child labor. Please visit her site to read her CorruptCo contribution.

posted by Yukkione at 8:23 AM | Permalink |

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Comments for My Corruptco blogfest entry
Thanks for the education. I'm e-mailing your post.

Thank you mary, it's not as complete as i would have liked, but it was getting abit wordy. not to mention I'm a crappy writer. lol

You are a wonderful writer and your contribtuion is appreciated, LOC. I am going to link up the posts at the end of the day when more people have had a chance to put them up. I shall return!

I think people downplay the public health threat/costs of the 'sugar' disease. And the more blood sugar is toyed with the harder it is for the body over time to regulate it as it should. I think this is a great post, and tied to the crisis of health care expense not to mention the quality of life aspects. I didn't realize it was made that way, like many people we just consume without much thought. I've given up soda...baby steps. Thanks LOC.

That's it? How does that make them corrupt? They make a product that we voluntarily ingest that makes us fat. That's all you got? So basically if we're fat slobs, it's the fault of the food company? It's ADM's fault that you don't work out and you eat too much crappy food? Is it the fault of the car companies if i drive drunk? or is that the fault of the beer makers? How about if you're a fat slob, it's your fault! Very interesting to learn the process, but a very weak argument if you ask me.

Nice to see you Rino. No, just making a product is not inherently bad. (Corruption is not the only criteria)Alcohol makers have warning labels and advertise safe and responsible use. You also need a license to drive a vehicle. HFCS however is used in products most people don't even suspect, and they are not told about the negative health effects of so much fructose. I state in my piece that inactivity is also a major factor in obesity. Also, people should know if the product they are using contains or was created using genetically altered biological means. The more we use HFCS the more we have to subsidize corn production. As a conservative I'm sure your not for such subsidies. When we grow so much corn in lew of other crops, we deny our population a balanced choice for food. We also deplete our soil, and create a need for more fertilizer. Our agricultural spectrum becomes as sterile as the one species forest we replant after we clear cut. For your next holiday dinner do you want to be eating a ham thats been injected with brine and HFCS? Our FDA is so in the pocket of big agro companies and pharmaceuticals that it won't put out accurate information regarding many of the commonly used substances we take into our bodies on a daily basis. I do not for one moment shirk personal responsibility, but to be responsible, the average person has to be made aware of the issues.

Oh , the picture at the top... I call that a Bush Smoothy.

very thorough post, Left. Impressive. But, tell me more about ghrelin. I didn't hear of it when I took biochemistry in medicine. It was a number of years ago. So, that could be why.

Glucagon is the hormone secreted by the stomach (if I remember correctly) when blood sugar drops. It stimilutes lipolysis (breakdown of lipids) to increase the blood sugar and give your body energy.

It's suppressed after you eat a high glucose meal. But, it's generally not affected when you eat fats, proteins and fructose (so it seems). Hence the low carb diet that's been driving people nuts of late (it actually works quite effectively).

Anyway, from what I understand from the article you linked to, HFCS is comprised of fructose AND glucose, and based on my understanding of metabolism it's probably the glucose that's causing all the lipogenesis (weight gain) as that's what insulin stimulates.

Nevertheless, I would definitely agree that the "FDA is so in the pocket of big agro companies and pharmaceuticals that it won't put out accurate information regarding many of the commonly used substances we take into our bodies on a daily basis." AND that probably HFCS has other components to it that makes it harmful to the human body.

IN general our lives and our bodies are being destroyed by agribusiness and other grotesque monopolies, whether or not we actively participate.

Great post!

Just think, all the babies that get this yummy stuff in their formula- what a way to start life.

I suspect though that even a warning label would not address the fact that many people just refuse to do the right things, on that I will say Rhino makes a point. People make stupid decisions, and very often. Its hard to draw the line between corporate LIABILITY and CONSUMER stupidity. Perhaps we need to talk about that distinction more. I think it is a matter of transparency and information- people can only make informed choices when they know. When we are deceived, there is an element of blame on producers but I would not go so far as to say people are without responsibility. People smoke, drink, eat cows, hormones in milk...knowingly. Information may not be the answer, rejecting these products seems impossible, and there is no one working to advocate for consumers. The FDA is a joke, pigs waiting for their cushy post- FDA gig. Like the wingnut think tankers do.

Whats their purpose again??? See we can all agree that corrupt government, big or small, is a waste of resources.

Thank you qrswave for the additional information and perspective. As for Ghrelin, I would have to defer to Google for additional resources. I wish I had created a more definitive post, but my lack of attention span and time made that impossible. You see this blog is a way to exercise my mental faculties, and combat my AADD (no hyperactivity here).

And I believe its these guys and Cargill that write our agricultural policies for the Bush Administration, is that right?


There seems to be a well written definition on Wilkipedia for Ghrelin. It wasn't discovered till 1999 which may explain you're not being familiar with this hormone.

neil, you're forgetting monsanto.

Neil didn't forget Monsanto...he blacks out horrible images.

LOC you still haven't shown me where it's ADM's fault or that they're a bad company for what they do. I will always be anti subsidies, but the fact that a corporation takes advantage of the system makes them smart not bad. The warning labels are the responsibility of the end company. ADM doesn't make their packaging. and if the FDA is in the pocket of industry, you should either show proof, or at least a little evidence of that. I'm sure this stuff is bad, but i still don't see where it's ADM's fault that we ingest bad stuff. I tell you what though, i definitely learned some stuff. So thanks for that.

Rhinoculous, There is much more info to be found online about both ADM, and thier lack of responsibility for health issues related to products they make, and how the FDA is really just a rubber stamp for any pharm company that has a big enough wallet. The true purpose of this exercise has been to stimulate a discussion of what is corporate responsibility, and at what point does a consumer become entirely liable for negative consequences. I think I've accomplished this. I also learned quite abit in doing research for this piece. There are two sides to every point and I thank you for bringing up the other side. Likewise, you're piece on the NYT showed quite a lot of truth, but neglected show the other side of the coin which is Fox News, a company that reaches many more people than the NYT does. The NYT never called itself "Fair and Balanced".

Lefty thanks for reading my post. As for both sides, Fox IS fair and balanced. You may not think so because they are to the right of all the other networks, but the other networks are extreme lefties. Besides, i was talking corruption, and if you look, you will see that the times donates to causes and then gives them preferential treatment in the news and editorial pages. They claim to be fair, they claim to be balanced and mainstream. They push their agenda, and they are the paper of record for all the major networks(nbc,cbs,abc) Fox cable is more to the right, but they get a fraction of the viewers of the three majors.

You guys (and gals) are making my ADM stock go into the toilet....

But aside from that-did you know that Monsanto makes the chemicals that go into your capeting? ha!

"We don't make your cancer, we make your cancer better"


damn fine posting!

i think it's almost impossible to go into a (regular) grocery store and pick something up that DOESN'T have hfcs in it

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