Is corn syrup bad for you?
I've heard this one a lot:
Isn't corn syrup okay because it comes from corn?
Saying that "high fructose corn syrup" is fine because it comes from corn... Is like saying that murder is okay because it is done by a human being.
I know I'm drawing a pretty crazy-sounding comparison, but just bare with me for a moment and see if you follow my reasoning.
Consider refined sugars and syrups. In general, any syrup that is mostly fructose with some glucose, is going to have the same effect on your body. It doesn't matter if it comes from agave roots, beet roots, sugar cane, tree sap or some other plant.
Sure, a given individual may react more or less to one of these, but... Consider: Beet sugar is more like cane sugar than beet sugar is like beets.
In the same way, how you process foods at home is also relevant. Take a fresh orange, for example. We can juice that orange, blend that orange into a smoothie, dehydrate the orange, freeze the orange, cook the orange or even microwave the orange if we so choose. All of these processes will decrease the amount of vitamin C you get from the orange, due to the oxidization. And, if you choose to juice the orange, you'll lose much of the calcium and all of the fiber.
If you cook the orange, you'll lose most or all of the enzyme content. If you dehydrate or freeze the orange, around 35% of the enzyme content will be lost. Much of the antioxidant content will also be lost.
You could even juice the orange and then dehydrate the juice, thus removing both the fiber and the water. The result would be an orange concentrate powder that doesn't have much vitamin C, enzymes or calcium left. You may even accidentally ferment the orange in the process, and the bacteria will eat the sugar and turn it into various acids and gases (which will vary depending on the bacteria present).
In other words, in your very own kitchen, you can entirely transform a given food into something entirely different.
Other factors also change what a food is made of, starting with how its grown: Soil pH, bacteria present in soil, insects and worms present, animals present on land, other plants being grown nearby, fertilizers used or not used, seed quality and source, and harvesting method.
Then more factors affect the minerals, vitamins and enzymes present in a given food on its way to your kitchen: How it is transported, what it is stored in, how long it is stored, what temperature it is stored at, the level of moisture where it stored, what bacteria are present during this process, and whether it is exposed to light or not.
And then there could be any number of processes that happen if this food is being transformed into a "convenience" food. Hydrogenation, homogenization, dehydration, concentration... Sounds like I'm writing a new poem, doesn't it?
This isn't all to prove the raw foods are superior. On the contrary, this is to show that every single step of agriculture and food preparation has an impact on the food ultimately consumed. It's not just whether the food is cooked or not. Dehydration, fermentation, freezing, juicing and blending all have an impact as well. Instead of focusing on whether any of this is good or bad, I just wanted to share with you my realization...
What the original food is named doesn't tell you as much about what the food actually contains as all of the things that have happened in the process of bringing that food to the dining table.
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