Williams: Corn syrup just might be the sweetest poison there is

Everything is corny. While most things in this world are funny in a stupid way, that's not what I'm talking about.

Corn, in all of its vegetable glory, is everywhere. Relatively easy to grow and, thanks to massive federal subsidies, extremely cheap, corn is the raw material of choice for countless manufacturers around the world. Corn is in everything from antibiotics and biofuel to cow feed and, most relevantly, the overweight backsides of thousands of Americans.

High-fructose corn syrup is made by milking corn kernels and using enzymes to turn the resulting corn juice mixture of glucose and starch into fructose, a tasteless, long-lasting, easy-to-use sugar. Some scientists say that high-fructose corn syrup has the same effects on our health as sucrose, normal table sugar. Others claim that the substance interferes with metabolic functions and rapidly fuels cancer cells in addition to simply making us overweight, sluggish, and diabetic.

To the Corn Refiners Association, this syrupy concoction is much more than just another long word on a Twinkie label, which is why it has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to officially change the ingredient's name to "corn sugar." The association has been losing money since the substance was stigmatized by anti-obesity campaigns, and therefore, it needs to clear up some consumer "confusion." The CRA believes that the name change will emphasize that high-fructose corn syrup is no unhealthier than normal sugar and that it is no sweeter or fattier than average sucrose.

Saying that high-fructose corn syrup is no unhealthier than normal sugar is like saying electric chairs are no more deadly than guillotines. Either way, all four of those objects are not beneficial to one's health.

Fat by any other name is, shockingly, still fat. Obviously, starches and sugars are necessary in moderation, but high-fructose corn syrup is a primary source of calories for an embarrassingly high number of Americans. Between subsidies and consumption, Americans clearly have moderation issues when it comes to corn. What's next? Will chocolate become "cocoa bean extract?" Is the future of the cannoli a "filling-infused Italian tortilla?"

Also, how does "corn sugar" sound healthier than high-fructose corn syrup? If one is conscientious enough to be reading food labels in the first place, their health concerns are certainly not going to be assuaged by this new phrase. If anything, "corn sugar" is more concise and to the point - unhealthy.

So, here's a crazy proposition: Let's make less work for everyone. All of those activists campaigning for trans fat bans and sugar taxes should calm down for a bit, and the corn refiners should accept that those plump, succulent kernels they love so much have scary health consequences and deserve an intimidating name. That way, high-fructose corn syrup can continue, one diabetic at a time, to develop its malicious reputation, and no one has to deal with any governmental entity sticking its fingers into the food choices of individuals. It's as easy as fruit filled crust with whipped dairy product on top.