Thursday, August 21, 2008

High fructose corn syrup is garbage

Remember back when soda was made with pure cane sugar instead of that cheap, syrupy corn sweetener junk?

At least once company -- Jones Soda -- does, and you can get something close to a Coca-Cola of old thanks to the company's excellent Pure Cane Cola. That's a good thing, too, as stuff flavored with real sugar just tastes better.

I've been mad about that corn syrup junk since Coca-Cola unveiled Coca-Cola Classic in the 1980s as part of a marketing scheme that I believe was both terribly evil and absolutely brilliant.

Let me explain. Back in the 1980s, Coca-Cola announced that it was phasing out that tired old Coke formula that people around the world were nuts for in favor of New Coke.

Such a plan was foolhardy, particularly here in the good old South where Coca-Cola was (and remains) so dominant that any soft drink was called a Coke. Going to the store to get a Nehi Peach, a Sprite or even a blasted Pepsi. You're getting a Coke, ace. Not a soda or a pop or anything like that -- a Coke, man.

I well remember growing up in central Arkansas when Coca-Cola announced the beloved old Coke was being taken off the market. People horded the original item and were mad as hell that their favorite drink was being replaced by something else. Truth be told, New Coke could have been the greatest stuff in the world and it would have still failed -- people were simply too attached to the original to embrace its successor.

We're lucky we avoided rioting in the streets back then. Why? Because you don't pull crap like that on Southerners -- especially if you happen to be a company headquartered in Atlanta. Honestly, the very idea of messing with the original formula was stupid.

By the way, did you folks know that none other than the great Ty Cobb invested heavily in Coca-Cola (he died a wealthy, yet hated, man)? Ty must have been rolling in his grave when New Coke arrived on the scene.

Anyway, the predictable backlash against that awful New Coke was so substantial that Coca-Cola announced it was bringing back the original formula as Coca-Cola Classic. The difference, of course, was that cane syrup sweetener was replaced with the cheaper corn syrup.

The conspiracy nuts will tell you that Coca-Cola planned to do that all along -- release a product that was so bad that Coke fans would be thrilled to get their "classic" cola back, even if it was flavored with corn syrup. The plan worked, of course, as the sales of Coca-Cola go through the roof annually, the company saves money with the cheaper sweetener and most people are just happy that the original formula was put back on the market.

See? That plan -- if true -- is both evil and brilliant. Coca-Cola officials have denied that was their intention for the past couple of decades, but it's amazing how well that tactic worked. It's all just a little too convenient, huh? Coca-Cola, with that little stunt, became just like the rest of those major soft drink manufacturers -- everyone uses corn syrup these days and that's a shame.

I've missed the real Coca-Cola for years as the new stuff is just sweeter and just doesn't sting the back of my throat like the original did. You can still find the original formula in bottles of Coke bottled in places like Mexico and I've picked up a few of those great things at Mexican grocery stores and restaurants.

The Jones Pure Cane Cola isn't exactly like the original Coca-Cola, but it's close enough to be pretty good. No, I wasn't paid a dime to crow about this product -- I've just become a fan and I hope Jones does well enough to convince Coca-Cola and other major soft drink manufacturers that going back to using cane sugar is a great idea. Give 'em hell, Jones!


Da Old Man said...

Pepsi is using sugar in Europe, they call it Peps Raw, or something like that. May eventually make it to the States.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Heh. The only problem with that is Pepsi sucks!

The Mad Celt said...

Blame the corn farmers (especially ConAgra). They've supported high tariffs and restrictions on cane sugar for decades now. HFCS is far less expensive for manufacturers to use than cane sugars or other natural unprocessed sweeteners.

More HFCS facts at Wikipedia:

FishHawk said...

Blame it all on idiots like myself. For I think Coca Cola Classic tastes fantastic.

Athena said...

I f'ing hate Dr. Pepper, but if you don't, you can get some Dublin Dr. Pepper - made with cane sugar as well.

yanjiaren said...

It's true..This diet coke crap is full of the joys of e numbers and aspartame..a brain killer..I like water best.

gsmith said...

Damn, I thought you Hawgs just drank beer? Man, I am let down. Soda?

lala said...

You know, I remember vividly when that happened. And honestly, the new stuff was crap. I had no idea that's when they switched over to the corn syrup tho. And you're right, the new stuff doesn't burn the back of your throat like it used to. It's still not a sweet as Pepsi, but still not the same.

I do remember some of my northern friends growing up, they'd always ask "you wanna pop?" and I'd go "What? What's a pop?" lol Because you're right, in the south, it was "you wanna coke?"

Personally, I like good ole RC cola. I had an old man that worked at the grocery store up in northern FL always say when I walked to the check out with my RC "man, that's an old time southern soda"

The Jones are good, they have a nice variety of flavors, but they're just expensive.

Jay W. said...

I used to drink a 5-6 Cokes a day - maybe more if you count a 'Big Gulp' as 3 servings. But I guess with age, my taste buds have changed because now the only Coke I'll drink is a Jack and Coke. I used to *love* McDonald's Big Macs, too, but the smell of one now makes me gag.

Anyway, sugary drinks like sodas are killing us off one by one with obesity, diabetes, kidney disease and don't forget tooth decay.

Better off drinking unsweeted tea - Oolong tea is a very good unsweetened and reportedly healthy. I know you're saying to yourself How can you drink unsweetened tea? Well, that because I by the *good stuff* Good tea doesn't need sugar (or sweetener). Same with coffee, but I'll stop there. :-)

The Natural State Hawg said...

the mad celt -- I've heard all about that and it stinks. There is nothing worse than the government getting involved and artificially creating more demand for an inferior product. However, that's exactly what's happened in the case of blasted, stinking corn syrup.


FishHawk -- that's not idiocy, man. A lot of people love Classic Coke and there's nothing wrong with that. However, alternatives are nice.

I'd be willing to bet you loved the original Coke, too, however and one must wonder how many people would love the current version of Coca-Cola had the company just started using corn syrup without first inflicting New Coke on us.

Athena -- my wife loves Diet Dr. Pepper. She's wild about it. Can't get enough of it. I have a feeling she'd like the sugar sweetened version you mentioned.

yanjiaren -- I wasn't talking about Diet Coke, but it's my understanding that you're absolutely correct. That's too bad for me as I actually do like Diet Coke. Wonder if I've hurried up my trip to senility...

gsmith -- Well, we've got to work and raise kids sometime, you know? Truth be told, I only drink a tasty beer every now and again. Why? Because ulcerative colitis is (literally) a pain in the ass and doesn't react well to high-performance drinking.

lala -- Heh. You're still an Arkie regardless of where you live now. You're right -- this stuff still isn't as sweet as Pepsi, but it's just not the same. And, yeah, any soft drink down here is a Coke.

By the way, ever dump a package of salted peanuts in a Coke? Haven't done that since I was a kid -- that's pretty much a Southern move, too.

I like R.C. Cola. I wonder, though -- what's it sweetened with? I'm in the mood for an R.C. Cola and a Moon Pie right now.

Love that Jones stuff. My last 12-pack of it was bought by my office, so to hell with expense when I'm using someone else's money ;)

Jay W. -- about the only unsweetened thing I drink (other than the dangerous Diet Coke) is black coffee. Haven't had a Jack and Coke for ages. Now I want one. Thanks a lot.

I hear you on the Big Macs. The eyeball count is a bit high for me in anything McDonald's makes. Ick.

Unsweetened tea can be fine but, as you know, The Hawg is a traditionalist. So, I tend to go for either sweet ice tea or hot, unsweetened Earl Gray. Hey, whatever's fine, yeah?