Does that coke have corn in it?

A curious question indeed, and certainly not one you would have been asking in your childhood! Next time you buy a can of coke though – or any other soft drink – satisfy your curiosity as well as your thirst and check out the ingredients label. The first item should be water in some form, next should either be sugar, high fructose corn syrup or HFCS, then a bunch of flavourings. But the interest lies in the second item, because most of our sugar – the little white granuled stuff, has been replaced by corn. Yes that’s right, corn – the cobbed yellow stuff that is most delicious in a roast but also fun to dip into guacamole.

Recently we watched an upsettingly interesting documentary called King Corn, about two guys who became interested in food ingredients and decided to grow an acre of corn and follow it’s path through the food chain. There were not many new things to learn if one has already watched Food Inc, one of the most popular food doco’s in recent times. Food Inc seems to be a movie amalgamation of the books An Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation, and is an absolute must to watch to discover more about how your food gets to your plate. I was so intrigued that I watched it twice, and there’s so much to understand that it’s probably worth re-visiting time and again.

I did however learn one mind boggling fact from King Corn70% of all the antibiotics in the USA are given to cattle!! Why? Because they’re fed corn, of course. Makes sense to me! Cattle have evolved to eat grass, but because they get fed corn the poor fellas get all sorts of troubles, and therefore their feed gets supplemented with antibiotics. Seems just a little arse-about to me, why not just feed them grass? The EU has banned antibiotics in animal feed since 2006, but does this happen in Australia? Bet your last grocery shop on it – http://www.abc.net.au/science/slab/antibiotics/agriculture.htm.

Back to the can of coke – curiously, I discovered yesterday that Sweden coke ingredients list  sugar and not HFCS. I’m reckoning on that sugar actually being HCFS – which does not bother me so much for the coke because I buy one as often as I have jam with eggs, but concerns me for the other products that include ‘sugar’. I try to avoid sugar as a rule, but when I choose it I want to be ingesting little granules, not syrup of engineered cobs.

Small habit change – watch Food Inc. That’s not really a habit but it’s the path to many other roads of knowledge about your food. If you’re interested wink wink then send me an email and wink wink I might know how you can get the movie wink wink.

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8 thoughts on “Does that coke have corn in it?

  1. Yes, High fructose corn syrup is a hot topic at the moment in the US. Due to the subsidiaries that Iowa corn farmers get, the price of producing corn becomes the cheapest of any other form of agriculture. As a result the cost of high fructose corn syrup is far cheaper then sugar cane, and therefore used my many organizations to make more money. The debate on HFCS has been heated up by a well respected medical professor discussing the repercussions on our health. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?_r=1 and also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM&feature=youtube_gdata_player. Sugar the bitter truth!

    On a side topic, the corn growers union is pushing for US labeling to just call HFCS, “sugar”, they know that it has a nasty connotation and are pushing for a reduction in consumer information. Interestingly a large reason that Iowa has so many consessions for corn is the state is the first to vote in the republican nomination. If a candidate wants to be influence other states they are 5 times more likely to do this if they win Iowa. Hence “pork barrelling tactics” have come to make corn the US gov’s no.1 subsidy. GO FREEDOM!

    • Cheers for those links Ross, a long but certainly interesting article. Worth the effort for anyone interested on reading (or watching) further about affects of sugar. Avoid at every opportunity it seems. Something interesting came up there that I’ve been thinking about recently – the popular scientific opinion on the whole food topic has changed a number of times as we discover more and more, and in relation to sugar HFCS was originally seen as a healthier alternative to cane sugar. So, how do we know that todays scientists have it right? In that respect I’m trying eat as natural as possible – you know making my own tomato sauce from scratch instead of canned crushed tomatoes – better taste, satisfaction and possibly health?
      Love the thoughts on Iowa being the first state in the nominations too, didn’t know it and it fits into the puzzle perfectly! GO FREEDOM!

  2. My head hurts when I read these Schonny!!!!

    I am however reeading them and trying to take in what I can, you’ll be pleased to know.

    • You mean they’re blowing your mind with the crazy stuff that big producers do to grow your food? I am pleased that you’re reading them, I’ll be even happier when you tell me you’ve taken on some of the habits I suggest!!

  3. I think it’s awesome that we can have this discussion online that we would never have in the real world, and that Apples is reading it! Chalk that one up Schurn. Great stuff Apples.
    I also think GO FREEDOM! is an excellent sign off, love your work Ross, and yours in repeating it Schurn. I will bask in the reflected glory by having given it another run.
    On the sugar thing I remember having a discussion with the late chemist Lachie Strapps during which he said that of all the physiological responses to chemicals you could measure, sugar is pretty much the last thing you should ever give someone if you want them to behave normally.
    Keep up the good work Schurn/Schonny

    • GO FREEDOM!
      Cheers Rhys old chum, thanks for the classic Lachie Strapps recall – he seems to have said in one sentence what Ross’s article above says in 9 pages. I do need to pick my ‘real world’ discussions on this sort of stuff carefully, you’re right that online provides a better forum for it, I’d never thought about it in that way. Often people tune out when I go on a tangent about everything affecting everything else. It’ not even all clear in my head either, I’m hoping writing stuff down might straighten all the paths.

  4. I thought the mention of pork barrelling politics was interesting in that it seems to be the answer to your questions on how to influence legislation (in regards to your recycling blog). Now you just have to figure out how to make your vote extra important! (move to Iowa?)

    Great site Shonny.

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