Friday, August 01, 2014

I've Been Blaming High Fructose Corn Syrup

I had a Scottish Macaroon the other day. This is a pretty good description:

Well, today I present one of Scotland’s national sweets: the macaroon bar. It’s about a million miles from the French macaron. They both contain sugar and the names are a little bit similar, but that’s about as far as it goes.

The Scottish macaroon bar is something of tooth-aching sweetness. It has a snowy-white intensely sugary interior that has been dipped in chocolate and then rolled in toasted coconut. This is probably as bad as sweets can get (and a dentist’s worst nightmare) but it has a firm place on the heart of a nation that, well, loves just about anything that is very, very, very sweet.

You might also wonder where the name comes from – is this in any way linked to the French macaron? The answer is…I don’t know. But here in Britain, coconut macaroons are quite common, so I think it is the addition of the coconut that gives rise to the name. Just a hunch.

I don't think most Americans have "sugar junkies" as part of their stereotype of Scots, but man, do these people love their sugar. Of course, Americans do too, no doubt in part because we are in part Scots. Scots are worse... really! I mean, the opening ceremonies of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games featured an interlude of dancing marshmallow teacakes, not because of corporate sponsorship or anything, just because Scots love the things (they're awesome, really), and when they think "Ooh, what do we love about Scotland that we'd like to tell the world about?" Their minds wander back to sweets sooner rather than later.

Those macaroons... you might as well have a solid block of sugar the size of a deck of cards. You could cut the sweetness a bit by taking a bite of fudge. Yet, that's probably only a bit more than the calories in a 32 oz. Coke.

What's really nuts about this is while you have no trouble finding an adult Scot who could stand to lose 20 pounds, on the whole, Scots are clearly less fat than Americans. That is, anecdotally and statistically.

It is intriguing because you cannae attribute it to Scots making better choices or having any more discipline personally. Many Scots load up on fried food and sweets just as much as Americans do, but somehow we seem to end up even fatter.

Salon has 10 Reasons America is Morbidly Obese, which is a good start. The lack of high fructose corn syrup is also notable -- and tastier! It is hard not to feel like we've decide to dispose of the surplus byproducts of our agri-industy by just dumping it into our own diet, regardless of the cost.

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