On the heels of Michael Pollan's appearance on the Colbert Report, news had leaked over Pollan's impressions of high-fructose corn syrup. Was Pollan saying high-fructose corn syrup isn't that bad?
This isn't the first time we have been confused over Pollan and high-fructose corn syrup. And he hasn't explaining this well over a long period of time.
Pollan talks about how high-fructose corn syrup is bad, but frowns over labeling of foods that are free of high-fructose corn syrup as being healthy or healthier. After all, even if high-fructose corn syrup is removed from the food product, that food product almost likely contains sugar at or near a level of the previous occupant, high-fructose corn syrup. Pollan objects to this, and we agree.
"I've done a lot to demonize it (high-fructose corn syrup)," he says. "And people took away the message that there was something intrinsically wrong with it. A lot of research says this isn't the case. But there is a problem with how much total sugar we consume."
Reducing sugar in foods AND substituting sugar for high-fructose corn syrup are both laudatory goals in improving the quality of processed food.
Pollan tells us to eat real food, not chemicals. So Michael Pollan should step up and say, "Sugar is real food, high-fructose corn syrup isn't real food. Sweet is fine, but you should cut down on the amount of refined sugar that you eat." If he believes that, he should say it. And give us the credit.
Onto Pollan's appearance on Colbert: the subject of high-fructose corn syrup came up briefly, Colbert brought it up, and Pollan said "It's a problem."
Pollan would put taxes on soda, as Colbert put it "the milk of America." As we have noted, if you eliminate the subsidies, you wouldn't need taxes.
His concerns over the American diet stem from false and misleading claims. "I realized at a certain point that we've been listening to scientists for too long and they really mislead us and as have the health claims on products."
Pollan brought out a home brew for Colbert and Stephen responded with Bugles, continuing the theme of bringing corn products to Pollan when he is on the set.
"Food Rules: An Eater's Manual" — the newest Pollan book — was the main reason why Pollan was there. They showed off three illustrations from the book. Colbert spoke of the joy of eating on the run in the car, filling the cupholders with gravy to dip the chicken wings.
Colbert ended the show with a White Castle Crave Crate with 100 of its tiny burgers, a nice symbol of decadence that makes up the American diet. I couldn't eat one much less 100.