Food Freedom

Make Natural Sugar In Your Own Kitchen with Julia Child! (Sort of)

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Below, a decently well-executed bit of pro-high fructose corn syrup propaganda (or at least anti-anti-high fructose corn syrup propaganda) from the folks at the Center for Consumer Freedom. It features fake Julia Child making "all-natural" sugar from beets in her kitchen, complete with gas mask and chemical burns. Best bit: When she substitutes a salad spinner for a centrifuge.

For more on the fake distinction between corn syrup and "natural" sugar, go here.

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  1. Wow, you have to admit that is pretty cool!

    Lou
    http://www.total-privacy.cz.tc

    1. Yup. Justin “Beiber” anonymity bot. Be still my beating Lou.

      1. Is this anon-bot posting from North Korea?

  2. Sorry, I don’t accept any fake Julia Childs not named Dan Aykroyd.

    As for HFCS vs. sugar, let me say this: Sugar tastes better. The desugarization of Coke was the beginning of the decline of the American Republic.

    1. You know that the HFCS vs sugar taste thing is all in your head, right? Should I call you FarcesWannoMo?

      1. That’s crap. Are your taste buds distorted from shoving bloody cardboard down your maw?

        1. You keep drinking your diabetes juice and let me know how it tastes.

          1. Like victory.

          2. Your comment is much funnier when read in a Wilford Brimley voice.

            1. My diabetes makes me cross! Just earlier I was short with my wife!

              1. Comments like these blur the distinction between you and SugarFree.

                1. I am all things.

              2. It’s “diabeetuss” you horse’s ass.

              3. Short, or premature?

          3. Like freedom.

      2. I think HFCS leaves a more even coat of gunk on my teeth.

      3. I disagree that the sugar-vs.-corn syrup distinction is in one’s head. I agree, however, that the idea that sugar universally tastes better than HFCS is B.S.

        1. I definitely prefer sugar in soft drinks. I think corn syrup mucks up the flavor of some prepared foods, too, but I’ll say that it seems fine in some foods.

          1. I’m sure many honestly prefer the taste of sugar, but I think that many others just *think* they like the taste of sugar better because foodies say they’re supposed to. Personally, I actually like the HFCS version of Coke better than its hecha-con-az?car counterpart from south of the border.

            1. You’ll pay for your heresy!

              1. I’ve already got a fatwah issued against me for liking merlot better than pinot noir so you’ll have to get in line.

                1. Screw the Merlot hate–I don’t make my wine choices based on some stupid movie.

                  1. SECOND! I have had many merlots that were spectacular.

                    1. Merlots stopped being uncool last month.

                  2. And one of the best jokes of Sideways was that Cheval Blanc—Miles’s treasured wine—is about 50% Merlot in most years.

            2. Personally, I actually like the HFCS version of Coke better than its hecha-con-az?car counterpart from south of the border.

              Probably has more to do with the water used in the bottling than the sweetener.

            3. Am I the only weirdo here who doesn’t like carbonated beverages?

            4. I didn’t mind the hate on Merlots. A few brands were noticeably cheaper after they became passe.

            5. Mexican Coke uses a different formula from US Coke.

              1. That’s right. The Mexicans stir FREE-DOOOM into their Coke.

            6. And, oh yeah, every brand taste too sweet. Lime seltzer with Pepsi One is the way to go.

      4. Strictly speaking, ALL taste is in your head.

    2. One Saturday night when I was a young’un, my mother decided to watch TV with me to see what kind of rubbish I was watching. My local PBS station was showing Monty Python at 11PM. It was the episode with Sam Peckipah’s Salad Days, full of high-pressure fake blood. She thought that was pretty disgusting.
      Guess what SNL episode was on that night?
      Mom came away with the impression that all the comedy I enjoyed was obsessed with gore.

      1. That’s a hilarious Python bit.

    3. I remember that bit being very controversial, as I believe she’s a hemophiliac.

      But, boy, was that funny.

  3. they can have my HFCS when they pry it from my cold, dead, sweet, slightly slippery fingers

  4. My problem isn’t with HFCS itself as much as how it is used. I can’t buy a bottle of french dressing that doesn’t list HFCS in the top two ingredients. Many of those so-called exotic sauces in the International aisle are also predominatly HFCS. It’s use as a substitute for emulsifiers is pretty gross.

  5. There is one and only one reason that high-fructose is so widely used. It has nothing to do with sinister conspiracies or government subsidies.

    Instead, it is the fact that splitting some of the sucrose molecules into fructose keeps the sugar liquid at room tempretures. It is many, many times cheaper to deal with a liquid ingredient in mass produced food than it is a granular powder. Moreover, a liquid sugar won’t cystalize later giving the food a grainy texture.

    It doesn’t matter what we do, food manufactures will use some form of high-fructose sugar. Whether they extract the original sugar from cane, beets, corn or yard trimmings they will have to fracture it to induce the formation of frutose in order to have a liquid sugar.

    The cost edge given to corn syrupy by subsidies and tariffs is utterly trivial compared to the cost of switching to powdered sugar. It’s never going to happen save in high end, status-consumption foods where people will shuck out extra to prove how much better they are than the rest of us.

    I have to avoid carbs for health reasons and I find the sweetening of absolutely everything, even vegetables, very annoying. However, I won’t delude myself that the cause is anything other than manufactures trying to provide the highest quality (as consumers really define if) foods at the lowest prices.

    1. If that’s true, then why not use invert sugar instead of HFCS?

      1. If that’s true, then why not use invert sugar instead of HFCS?

        (1)The production of corn syrup from corn starch and the enzymatic conversion occur in one step. (2) Corn is way cheaper to grow, harvest and transport than either sugar cane or sugar beets. (3) The supply of corn is far more consistent than dedicated sugar crops. Cane comes from a geographically restricted area and to a lesser extent so do beets. Most importantly, however, corn is grown for other uses besides sugar so there is a lot slack in the supply. Cane and beets are harvested just for sugar. If the crop is unexpectedly bad or demand unexpectedly high, you can’t just go out and get more cane or beets. Corn is grown for many uses and is largely fungible. In a pinch it can be shifted from low cost uses like cattle feed.

        The total cost of using any resource has far more inputs than just price per pound. Manufactures will pay more for a reliable supply, ease of use and quality in the final product. Corn syrup hits all three.

        All agricultural subsides and tariffs (corn/beets and cane respectively) distort the market and should be done away with. However, I think it readily apparent that the technical advantages of using corn syrup will/would lead manufactures of all but luxury “all natural” products to use it regardless of market distortions.

    2. Speaking of food piques, I’d like to list the following:

      Why do all trail mixes have to be composed largely of peanuts and M&Ms;?

      Do energy bars really need chocolate chips and icing?

      What the fuck is up with the “yogurt” coating?

      1. Why do all trail mixes have to be composed largely of peanuts and M&Ms;?

        Because they were originally made to be eaten on the trail, not sitting at your desk in an office. On the trail foods high in protein (peanuts) and those carbohydrates stable across a decently wide range of temperatures (M&M) are useful due to their high calorie to weight ratio.

        The Target store brand has a large selection of non-peanut, non-candy trail mixes.

        Do energy bars really need chocolate chips and icing?

        People want candy bars, but can’t admit it to themselves, so they make energy bars into candy bars.

        What the fuck is up with the “yogurt” coating?

        That one stumps me too. Possibly a frosting substitute?

        I am also confused by GoGurt.

        1. GoGurt? Wasn’t the the god from Ghostbusters?

        2. There are lots of things high in protein and carbs other than peanuts and M&Ms;.

          I think the mean reasons are:
          1. Peanuts are cheap
          2. People want candy but won’t admit it to themselves, so they have to put candy in the trail mix.

        3. What the fuck is up with the “yogurt” coating?

          That one is easy. Yogurt still has cachet in the American market. People still associate it with European high culture cuisine as well as the whole hippy all natural BS. In short, slappying anything “yogurt” makes people think its more healthy even if its fried lard encased in refined sugar and lightly garnish with lark’s vomit.

    3. Carrots cooked in a mixture of ginger ale, butter and chicken broth. Yum! Yum!

  6. HFCS’s prevalence is primarily a result of ridiculous market distortions in the US sugar industry due to government policies. Shouldn’t Reason coverage if HFCS be about this

    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/sc019 ?

    Who cares if it is “natural” or not?

    1. Don’t forget tariffs placed on sugar import to benefit the Fanjul family.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fanjul_Brothers

      Besides Fructose is worse than sucrose on a biochemical basis. Sucrose requires an ATP-dependent transporter to get in the cell; Fructose diffuses through the cell membrane, so the caloric processing is more efficient.

  7. I would also point out that the low sodium craze is also partially responsible for the sweetening of everything.

    Salf blocks the bitter receptors on the taste buds thereby making bitter foods taste less bitter and making sweet foods taste more sweet be unit of sugar.

    When manufactures and providers are required or pressured to reduce salt levels, they often end up adding more sugar, usually high-fructose corn syrup to compensate for increased bitterness.

    Low fat is also to blame. Manufactures try to reproduce the creamy texture of fats by using syrup.

    The trouble is, people say they want to eat healthy but most won’t actually pay hard cash for healthy food that makes the necessary tradeoffs in flavor and texture. As a resutl, manufactures find themes continually rearranging the deck chairs on our nutritional Titinic to meet the iron dictates of the latest fads.

    1. Totally agree.
      I’m not a sweet tooth person myself, and I’d much rather have a granola bar that’s salty than one that is sweet.

      As I listed above, I have a hige pet peeve with the energy bars lately morphing into high-fiber candy bars with all the sweet icings and chocolate chips they put in.

      I’d estimate that less than 10% of the energy bars available havn’t been adulterated by candy coatings.

      1. Because that’s what people buy.

        The very first “energy bar” was made by Nestle and it was actually good for you by the standards of 30 years ago. However, overtime, people bought the more candy-like bars more than the “healthy” ones so manufactures gave the people what they want.

        Personally, I think what people are really willing to pay big money for is self-delusion. They want you to sell them candy and while telling them its healthy gruel that will also “save the planet.”

        1. They want you to sell them candy and while telling them its healthy gruel that will also “save the planet.”

          QFT.

          One wonders how they don’t notice that the “healthy gruel” is composed of chocolate chips and icing, though.

          It’s like taking a diet bar, adding a chocolate coating and selling it to dieters. It might well sell better, but it sort of defeats the purpose.

  8. people say they want to eat healthy but most won’t actually pay hard cash for healthy food

    You needn’t pay an exorbitant sum for non-processed food. But you do need to know how to cook and use utensils. Most people I know haven’t a clue, so they buy frozen meals with “Healthy” on the label and microwave them into submission.

    1. You needn’t pay an exorbitant sum for non-processed food. But you do need to know how to cook and use utensils

      Well, time==money. Certainly, if you have years of skill and loads of free time you can turn tree bark into a tasty snack that will cure cancer.

      My spouse is a foody i.e. someone who both studies food and cooks as a hobby. After mumble-mumble decades of study and practice, my spouse can routinely turn out healthy, inexpensive dishes that taste great.

      I cannot. I turn out toxic, expensive dishes that taste like… well I think H.P. Lovecraft could better describe my cosmic level of culinary failure.

      Learning to cook well is hard. Learning to cook well enough to compete with the flavor, variety and cost of manufactured foods is even harder. In the past, women spent their childhoods learning the art but that time is passed. Most people simply don’t have the time or talent to invest. Even if they do, what are they going to eat in the meantime?

      It’s a big mistake to sneer at people just because they don’t have several hours a day to devote to cooking. Most people just don’t have the time anymore.

      1. It’s not really that hard. These days you just look up a recipe on the internet and follow the instructions.

        I cook for myself on a small budget and while it probably takes me longer than microwaving prepackaged food, it’s doesnt’ take several hours a day.

        I might spend 2 hours one day making enough food to last me three dinners.
        It’s all about loving leftovers.

        Plus, there are plenty of cheap recipes that I can whip up in half an hour.
        It only takes 20 minutes to cook rice and 5-10 minutes to steam some vegetables.

        1. And does rice and steamed vegetables , “…compete with the flavor, variety and cost of manufactured foods?” I don’t think so.

          Of course it doesn’t take much time to cook simple, bland and repetitive dishes. It certainly didn’t take me a lot of time to prepare the beans and cornbread and the beans and rice I lived on for weeks at a time in college. It was all nicely nutritionally complete but boring, boring, boring. Forget trying to get children to voluntarily eat that day-in and day-out.

          Most people, especially people in the lower half of the income distribution, aren’t going to eat like monks. Food is to important as source of variety and sociability in their lives.

          1. 1. They sell these things – they’re called herbs and spices. Lots of them can be had quite cheaply. Salt and pepper work wonders too. As for rice, cook it in chicken broth with said steamed veggies (frozen peas and carrots perhaps) thrown in near the end. Add spices & herbs, S&P to taste.

            2. Soups are generally easy – sometimes stupidly easy – and quite tasty.

            3. Tomato-based pasta sauce is cheap to make in large batches (it freezes quite well), fairly quick if you don’t over-think it, and is also quite tasty.

            4. Look up “no-knead bread” for a recipe that produces great bread with very little time/attention investment.

            5. Crockpots be your friend. Get yer Sunday (or whenever) roast w/ veggies with minimal effort.

            If my son can make a pretty damned good vegetable soup at age 9, it ain’t advanced particle physics.

      2. I eat self-cooked meals about 6 nights a week. They’re pretty cheap and pretty healthy, and they taste better than anything I could buy for a reasonable price. I taught myself to cook when I was in college when I got my first apartment — it’s not hard. I usually cook about 3 nights a week, it takes around an hour per time, and I eat the leftovers the other days. Also, a crock pot is a great way to get fantastic food in essentially 0 time (I only use mine about twice a month, should probably use it more)

  9. Sugar is poison. Enjoy your diabetes, fatties.

    1. Dr. Ron Rosedale? Is that you?

  10. I’ll just leave this right over here.

  11. study showing hfcs leads to more weight gain than table sugar in rats:

    http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/

    i guess that’s just a fake distinction though

    1. I love how all the chicks in the accompanying photo are clearly laughing as the cameraman poses them to look busy.

      I’m also somewhat skeptical of the study given the following sentence: “The new research complements previous work led by Hoebel and Avena demonstrating that sucrose can be addictive, having effects on the brain similar to some drugs of abuse.” Not saying that makes the study wrong, just that I’m hesitant to accept it as settled science.

    2. Two minutes on google also turned up this, which features criticism of the study from a relatively unbiased NYU professor.

    3. Yeah, it’s a recurring story that this or that form of sugar is more unhealthy than others but biochemically, sugar is sugar. It doesn’t even matter whether you eat it in refined form or a chunk of fine French bread, a $20 plate of Italian pasta or sushi rice. The body’s enzymes rapidly convert any digestible form of sugar to the same form. Just ask a diabetic that nearly killed themselves with a slice of toast.

      If high-fructose corn syrup is more dangerous than so is high-fructose apples, oranges and other fruits from which fructose gets its name.

      Honestly, there is so much crap in nutrition “science” its beyond belief. It’s easy to tell when the lack of a nutrient causes a disease in a matter of weeks or months but its nigh impossible to tell how a person’s diet when they are 20 will affect their health when they are 60.

  12. Oh and scones. Fuck.
    Why is it that you can hardly find a scone that doesn’t have a transluscent coating of candy icing all over it?

    It’s a fucking scone! It’s supposed to be dry and bready! It’s not supposed to taste like a cupcake!

    1. Because buyers want a donut, but “scone” sounds cooler.

  13. If there was any point to that video they erased it at the end. You get sugar from sugar cane by soaking it in water and then evaporating the water.

    1. So I read the wikipedia on commercial sugar beet processing. What a surprise. Turns out you get sugar out of beets by soaking them in hot water.

      1. Here’s something that will apparently come as a shock. There is a big difference between artisanal/luxury production and mass production. Yes, you can get some sugar from cane and beats by simply soaking them in water. For that matter, you can get some just by chewing them.

        However, efficiently extracting all the sugar from cane and beets requires big machines, lots of water, lots of heat and chemicals like calcium hydroxide to rupture the cell membranes and drive precipitation. Purifying the sugar into its white crystalline form requires further chemical processing and the aforementioned industrial centrifuge.

        People who write Wikipedia articles usually don’t have experience in industrial agricultural processing.

  14. The video makes a good point, but how can you get a chemical burn from calcium carbonate… the active ingredient in Tums?

    1. It’s calcium hydroxide not calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is literally chalk. Calcium hydroxide is the nastier, calcium version of sodium hydroxide aka lye. It will take the hide of you.

      It is used in modern food processing where lye was used traditionally. It does the same job in smaller quantities and degrades to calcium compounds like calcium carbonate and water. It raises the calcium content instead of the sodium level.

      1. Aren’t similiar chemicals used in the production of HFCS? I seem to recall hearing/reading about NaOH and HCl being used in particular. If that’s true, it’s not much different in that regard to production of beet sugar is it? I can’t speak to cane sugar.

  15. Speaking of sugar:

    Last week’s homemade ice cream is nearly gone – coffee with cinnamon. Most excellent.

    This week’s is a little weird – honey lavendar with candied rose petals (long story) – but still quite tasty.

  16. How long will it take for us to ignore the fear-mongering surrounding high fructose corn syrup (and these companies’ savvy marketing efforts), and think for ourselves?

  17. How to Eliminate Sugar from Your Diet

    Sugar can lead to many diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. So it’s definitely important to watch what you eat when it comes to sugar

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