You’ve probably heard about the research in the press, but please see Derek Lowe for perspective. The difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar as an additive may, or may not, be problematic. But the uncertainty in this area is why I try and avoid excessively processed foods*, there’s just so much we don’t know. If you’re poor and short on cash perhaps the high ratio of calories per cent of processed foods are simply necessary, but for people of even modest means I don’t think it is that difficult to cut most consumables which come out of boxes from your diet.
Again, I want to reiterate that I don’t necessarily have an atavistic fear of food science and industry. Or think that “nature always knows right.” The human state of nature is Malthusian and characterized by high mortality. But I think some trends in the modern food industry driven by demand side pressures result in medium-to-long term gains in morbidity in return for short-term spikes in pleasure.
* If something has fewer than six ingredients, and you know what the ingredients are (i.e., they’re not obscure chemicals), I don’t know if I would avoid that. After all, cooking is in many ways a form of processing too. As are cheeses and pickling.