Missing the Healthy Junk Food of 70s

The entire point of this article can be summed up with this conversation, between two people:
PERSON 1: You shouldn’t let your kids eat junk food (Coca Cola, Doritos, Twinkies, etc.).
PERSON 2: Oh, come on. We grew up on junk food and we turned out just fine.
PERSON 1: Yes, but the junk food you grew up on wasn’t nearly as bad for you as the junk food is today.
Yes, it’s true. Your father’s Coca Cola was healthier than yours.
A recent Gallup Poll indicates that 63% of Americans avoid drinking soda (pop/soft drinks), while 42% avoid sugar. But here’s the catch: while some junk food companies have removed or reduced sugar, they have replaced it with something arguably worse: high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Basically, HFCS is a combination of corn syrups that have gone through a process of enzymatic change (sounds suspect, doesn’t it?) to produce a desired sweetness. Granted, there is no conclusive evidence to indicate that HFCS is less healthy than sugar, yet enough speculation to warrant more studies. Sugar, meanwhile, although certainly not an optimal diet staple, is at least a product with which doctors, scientists, and nutritionists are far more familiar, considering it has been around much, much longer.
Then, there’s the other bad guy of modern-day junk food: partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (PHVO) – more commonly referred to as “trans fats.” It involves a process of adding hydrogen to vegetable oil contained in junk food, which gives it a longer shelf life and a fresher taste. Unfortunately, it also has a devastating double whammy effect on cholesterol – lowering the good kind and raising the bad kind.
Why, then, have we moved to HFCS and PHVO over the past couple of decades? Money. Or, more specifically, greed. This is not about using engineered food to feed the hungry masses in indigenous populations throughout the world. That might be justified if it were the case: after all, better to die of poor health prematurely 30 years from now, than of starvation next week. No – the primary reason those ingredients are found in our food supply is because the uber-rich and highly successful companies that make such food want to make even more money. To cut costs even further – to please their board members and shareholders. In turn, they’ve added more junk to junk food, which American kids consume. (Yes, American kids, because in many other countries, “profit at virtually any cost” is not the national mantra, and those foods are prohibited.)
Of course, to the average uninformed person, “corn syrup” sounds healthy enough. After all, sugar sounds like cotton candy, and corn syrup conjures images of a steaming hot ear of corn on the cob with melted butter dripping from it. Surely that must be more healthy, right? And vegetable oil sounds healthy, too – who cares if it’s hydrogenated? At least it’s only partially, right?
Those flawed misconceptions are what have kept HFCS and PHVO in our food supply. But the good news is that more and more Americans are catching on, and are actually starting to care about what they put in their mouths.
That means soon enough, “organic” will be the new norm, and junk food will go back to making you fat and rotting your teeth – but at least your vital body organs will be spared from a direct onslaught.