Inspiration from Meghan

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Fat and Defensive: Killer At Large


I received my very first piece of hate mail last fall. I didn't take it particularly personally as it wasn't really a personal attack on me but more an attack on my profession as a whole. My friend Adam congratulated me, saying that when you can evoke a reaction in someone- good or bad- than you have made a difference. What I never expected, with this here wee little blog of mine, was to instigate a response from some big fat American dietary propaganda organization, also known as the Corn Refiners Association.

It seems that my post entitled "What's Your Poison" which contained the line "food grade petroleum based high fructose corn syrup junk", triggered something in the search mechanism the Corn Refiners have set up that prompted an email full of links about how High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) isn't bad and yadda, yadda, yadda... I thought it was  funny and when I sent it to my friend Vanessa, who writes for the National Post, she mentioned that she had received the same email when she had written about it. What was mildly concerning however was when I received a packet in the mail to my address at the Making Love In The Kitchen Headquarters which means it isn't a totally mechanical defense program they have going on there. Kinda creepy and totally suspect.

"Defense is the first act of war" says motivational author Byron Katie. This is true and also true is that sometimes it is better to be at peace than to be right. I choose to share information that I believe and welcome questions, comments and well thought out challenges, but rarely will I aggressively defend my views. We all have a right to our own opinions.

I did have a look at the materials that were sent to me (and it was a thick shiny papered package of info that smelled all toxic and inky). The gist of the info was to defer the blame of the problem of American Obesity and the epidemic of excessive lifestyle diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc) away from HFCS- not by saying it is not the cause but by saying it is no worse than other sugars. There was also a handout on the victory when the American Medical Association permitted HCFS to be listed as a "Natural" ingredient. As far as I'm concerned a natural ingredient is something that at least somewhat resembles the plant or animal, bean or seed that it originally came from.  Not sure how a sickeningly sweet syrup has any resemblance to a kernal of starchy inedible corn. To me, a natural substance is something that comes form the earth or can be processed into something else using basic home cooking methods. If you have seen the fabulous documentary King Corn- than you have seen the experiment they did- wearing protective goggles and all, as they attempted to make HFCS in their kitchen.

The above trailer for the new documentary Killer At Large, talks about how huge (no pun intended) this problem is in America. I witnessed it for myself on my trip to Chicago. The issue is not about pointing fingers and deflecting blame, as the Corn Refiners Association have done with their defensive marketing campaign, but to seriously start negotiating some solutions. These lifestyle-related epidemics are costing us a fortune in all ways- on food, on health care, on energy use, on emotional and physical toxicity, on relationships, right down to clothing budgets. It is expensive to be sick- whether health care is public or private. In this economy we can't afford it and the problem is growing. Defending HFCS, adding apples with caramel dipping sauce at McDonald's as a healthy option, liposuction on pre-teens, kids on cholesterol meds and anti-depressants... these approaches are not dealing with why they are needed in the first place.

Is high fructose corn syrup to blame? Is McDonald's to blame? Is Coca-Cola to blame? Is the pharmaceutical industry to blame? Is our government to blame?

They are all contributing factors. They may not be the sole problem, but they are certainly not part of a root cause, upstream solution.

Find a screening of Killer At Large near you or look in to hosting your screening. Details here. You can also enter to win a copy  here.


10 Responses to “Fat and Defensive: Killer At Large”

  1. Chloe said…
    Thank you SO much for posting this. That trailer is so sad and striking, but I want to go see the movie and spread the word to everyone I know. The propaganda regarding HFCS is ridiculous. I cannot stand their ads that state it is "fine in moderation" and is "natural" because it's made from corn. That industry makes me sick and in no way would I ever knowingly consume somthing with HFCS, just like I wouldn't consume something with Trans fats.
  2. [...] if (vbc) = 'hidden'; = '#fff' }); }); today Fat and Defensive: Killer A... trackback from post [...] videoActivityPage = 1; function imageOn(img) { img = $(img); img.src [...]
  3. Leesie said…
    Great informative post Meghan! Thank you. All of us need to educate ourselves and learn about all of the crap that goes into these "foods" that are created by the conglomerate companies all in the name of making the quickest buck and to fleece its pockets - sadly all at the cost of our all around health and well-being. It all makes me SO angry and I wouldn't hesitate to stand up against them and I feel that starts by eating natural, nourishing, wholesome (REAL) foods. As I learn more and become even more knowledgeable on these issues, I will continue to cut out more and more from our diets. Bravo for standing up for what you believe in and for doing what you do! Cheers to you...
  4. I, too, got tons of comments and emails (though no actual snail mail) from the PR folks at the corn refiners association. Then the margarine makers starter after that. I posted about the corn folks here (Open Letter to the Corn Refiners Association.) It stopped after the open letter. So far, you're the only other blogger I've come across that has encountered this from the HFCS folks. Disturbing, isn't it?
  5. Very moving.
  6. Jennifer R. said…
    We avoid HFCS like the plague. The commercials about corn syrup being "natural" make me sick! More people need to be informed about this. Schools need to get rid of anything with HFCS in it! Thanks for sharing, Meghan!
  7. Ashley said…
    Great post Meghan. I look forward to seeing that documentary. On an unrelated note, there's a little something for you on my blog!
  8. Lisha said…
    Hi Meghan, Even after growing up in the American Midwest, "King Corn" was very eye opening for me. I actually had a great uncle die of complications related to the pesticides used in the movie. I have been on a cleaner than norm diet for awhile and am always cleaning it up. It is shocking to me how prevelant hfcs is in our american diet. Can't wait to watch Killer at Large. Thanks for posting. ~Lisha
  9. Stef said…
    Fascinating that they actually sent you mail. They've got quite the pro-HFCS campaign going. Good for you for trying to educate! Thanks for stopping by my blog, btw. Glad you liked the cupcake recipe!
  10. ashton dietrick said…
    I found your blog on google and read this great post. I just added this site to my Google News Reader. I Look forward to reading more here in the future.

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