Why are we fatter and stupider than ever?

by lestro

It really all starts to make sense now.

Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies.

For the past couple of decades we have been stuffing ourselves with a sugar supplement that we put in everything and not only does it contain no nutrition, now it turns out it contains mercury.


Mercury’s harmful effects that may be passed from the mother to the fetus include brain damage, mental retardation, incoordination, blindness, seizures, and inability to speak. Children poisoned by mercury may develop problems of their nervous and digestive systems, and kidney damage.

lovely. It’s not exact, but look at the correlation on these three graphs:

explains a lot, doesn’t it?

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda.

“The bad news is that nobody knows whether or not their soda or snack food contains HFCS made from ingredients like caustic soda contaminated with mercury. The good news is that mercury-free HFCS ingredients exist. Food companies just need a good push to only use those ingredients,” Wallinga said.

Thanks, baby boomers!


2 Responses to Why are we fatter and stupider than ever?

  1. David McCabe says:

    From your graph, the Math SAT score is now higher than ever. The Verbal dropped until about 1980 and has been flat since. In any case, the SAT’s testing and scoring changes frequently, and cannot be compared across decades. Other factors, such as the democratization of college admissions, are more likely than mercury to account for changes in SAT scores.

    As with every substance, the toxicity of mercury depends on the dosage. Journalists aren’t pointing this out, but the concentration of mercury in HFCS is less than what the EPA allows in drinking water.

    Details improve our public discourse; indignation hampers it.

  2. lestro says:

    david –

    true enough about the graphs; i just thought there was a very interesting correlation between the three of them.

    details do improve our public discourse. with that in mind, please provide a reference link or statistic for your statement about EPA allowances in drinking water.


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