Does Cargill Make America Fat?

Yesterday, I was thinking about which Minnesota based company makes America the fattest. I threw the question out on Twitter:

Cargill Obesity

It turns out that quite a few people have an opinion about this. To read them in the order they came in, start at the bottom of this screenshot:

Does Cargill Make America Fat?

Cargill definitely took a beating in that poll.

A glance at’s sweetener page taught me that there are, in fact, many types of corn syrup:

Cargill Corn Syrups

I checked a couple out. The first on the list can make the meat in your mouth feel really good. Seriously.

Cargill’s Cleardex® 25/42 Corn Syrup is a pure, low D.E. acid-enzyme converted corn syrup. Its low dextrose content yields minimal sweetness and low hygroscopicity, making it ideal for spray drying, coating, and bulking applications. It contributes nutritive solids, body, mouthfeel, and crystallization control in many applications such as dairy, ice cream, and meats.

Apparently, cranking up the maltose makes things harder:

Cargill’s Clearsweet® 50% High Maltose Corn Syrup is a specially prepared corn syrup which contains maltose as its major carbohydrate constituent. This high maltose syrup improves flavor, body, and texture at high sucrose replacement levels while imparting resistance to color formation, to moisture absorption, and to crystallization in finished products such as hard candies. It produces finished products which have exceptional stability, clarity, and brilliance.

This stuff can be used to make beer, so it can’t be all bad:

Cargill’s Clearsweet 63/44 Low SO2 Corn Syrup is a pure, high D.E. syrup with two-percent more solids than Clearsweet® 63/43 Corn Syrup, and the added feature of a minimal sulfur dioxide content. The high degree of sweetness and viscosity of Clearsweet® 63/44 Low SO2 Corn Syrup has made it a leader in fruit canning applications. The high level of fermentable sugars also makes it an excellent choice for baking and brewing formulations.

Have you ever noticed Cargill’s corn syrup train cars rolling through Minneapolis? You may have mistaken them for oil cars. They’re black, the same shape, and full of stuff that makes your meat hard.

Cargill is a member of the Corn Refiners Association. A trade group that lobbies the government and journalists about the benefits of growing inedible forms of corn using tons of petrochemical fertilizers, then turning the harvested crop into a chemical that can be used in processed foods.

And they run PR pieces like this that sound similar to fast food industry justifications, which makes sense since corn syrup is part of all kinds of products you can buy through drive-thru windows:

This stuff is a far cry from where food writer Michael Pollan is today, offering advice such as, “Just eat what your great-grandma ate.”

That makes me wonder, if one of my great-grandmothers were alive and sharing an opinion on processed foods from agribusinesses like Cargill, would she say, “Back when I was growing up, we had to process foods ourselves. We called it digestion. It’s no wonder kids the days are so fat.”

6 thoughts on “Does Cargill Make America Fat?”

  1. HFCS is evil stuff. I concentrated on cutting it out of my diet and it really made a difference in how I feel on a daily basis.

  2. Re: Eating what grandma ate. My grandma was a big fan of cooking with lard and smaltz, any leftover animal fat, really. Her husband’s favorite Christmas tradition was taking a sip of warm goose fat while it was roasting. And while I agree that eating more unprocessed foods like back in those days is a good idea, my grandparents also worked manual labor jobs which worked off all that rendered animal fat, etc. I’m sure eating tons of that stuff while running reports in front of the computer would produce the same results as a Cargill diet…albeit it would be a more delicious way to go about it.

    P.S. I miss those flaky, lardy, pie crusts.

  3. Nobody even gave a tip to Best Buy? Their products represent not only HDTV players, but also use and funnel through through all of the following
    Comcast, Time Warner, Viacom, NBC (GE), Sony (Playstation, DVD players), Microsoft, Nintendo, Dell, IBM, etc. etc. etc. I’m sure all of those together has wrenched our lifestyles to destroy the ability to offset all the bad stuff from Cargill that’s going into our bodies.

  4. The crunch enhancer? That’s a non-nutritive cereal varnish.
    It’s semi-permeable. It’s not osmotic.
    What it does is, it coats and seals the flake.
    It prevents the milk from penetrating it.
    Yeah, it’s a beautiful product.
    I like it.

  5. Pingback: The Mississippifarian

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