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Manufacturing Confusion

I came across an article recently in Wired Magazine called Manufacturing Confusion. It is in the February issue on page 38, written by Clive Thompson.

In the article Clive talks about how there is often a purposeful manufacturing of misinformation. “Is Global Warming caused by Humans? Is Barack Obama a Christian, is evolution a well-supported theory?” He opens the article with these questions and then continues to expound on the fact that we as Americans have heard so many differing opinions on the same subject that we no longer choose a side but instead we just block out what we hear and become indifferent and even ignorant to the truth.

Cigarette cause cancer, Beef – it’s whats for dinner, Atkins Low-Carb diet, Fat Free Diets, Milk Does a Body Good – as consumers we have so many advertisements thrown at us that we don’t know what is fact or ficiton anymore.

One of the most recent attempts at misinformation is those new commercials about High Fructose Corn Syrup. Obviously it is in almost everything we eat and it isn’t harmful to you… or is it? The problem with genetically modified foods is in how your body processes them and while nutritionally HFCS is the same as sugar, your body doesn’t recognize it the same as sugar.

HFCS, in my opinion, is most harmful in snack cakes, candy bars and any food where the first ingredient listed is High Fructose Corn Syrup. In these products we often will over consume because our bodies don’t realize how much sugar we are putting into our bodies.

Ever had a piece of really rich cake with homemade icing? It is so sweet that after one piece you satisfied and sometimes it is so sweet that you don’t even want to finish the whole piece. However, you can drink a 32 oz Dr. Pepper filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup that has 3 times the amount of sugar as that piece of cake and you will still want more.

My favorite quote from the aforementioned Wired article is this: “People always assume that if someone doesn’t know something that they haven’t paid attention or haven’t yet figured it out. But ignorance also comes from people literally surpressing truth – or drowing it out – or trying to make it so confusing that people stop caring about what is true and what is not.”

In the end it is up to us as consumers to do our homework and find out what is true and what is not. We cannot throw up our hands and plop down on the couch and do nothing, instead we have to start using common sense in some areas and a little trial and error in others.

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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