High fructose corn syrup has become the leading sweetener in processed foods during the past two decades in the United States. Food-like products such as soda, cookies, cereal bars and most other processed foods contain the sweetening additive. A consumer may not believe that the soda, containing high fructose corn syrup, they are purchasing may have traces of mercury or may be the result of false inflation. The sweetener in that soda does connect mercury tainting, government policies, nutrition, and capitalism all in one convenient, yet slightly mysterious, substance. High fructose corn syrup, also shortened to "HFCS", is a sweetener refined from corn. According to Pollan "fructose is a different form of sugar, commonly found in fruit" (Pollan 105). In the 1970's fructose was isolated and extracted from corn creating high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup has been cheaper to use in processed foods than sugar since the 1980's due to a sugar quota that restricts the amount of sugar imported to America. The increased use of HFCS in foods is a result of America's sweet-tooth, a false sense of good nutrition, legislative decisions, government subsidies, and economic demand. All these factors have contributed to the rise of the new sugar: high fructose corn syrup.
Why is high fructose corn syrup an issue and does this sweetener really have an effect on human lives or the environment? Our bodies are ecosystems, just like a forest or grassland, which must be protected and cared for in order for them to flourish and grow. Americans, as well as the human race, must respect our bodies before they can fully respect the earth from which sustaining food sources come. The connection between plants and human food was once as simple as soil to mouth. Now the food web involves scientists, monoculture, and human-made creations such as high fructose corn syrup.