Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why I avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

Two words: HIGH and FRUCTOSE. While I am not a scientist, and I cannot state with scientific particularity, I can read, and many times over I have read that our bodies process Fructose differently than Glucose. I most recently read that "fructose must be metabolized in the liver" instead of being metabolized widely by cells throughout the body, as with glucose.

The same article explains the process that goes into CHEMICALLY creating HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), and that the corn used to make it is almost certain to be genetically modified corn. The enzymes used in the chemical process are genetically modified. Another two words: GENETICALLY MODIFIED. I do not think we should be eating genetically modified Frankenfood, and I attempt to avoid it at every possible juncture.

Today, I saw a commercial PROMOTING HFCS!!! The girl eating an HFCS-laden popsicle, and her urging of a male companion to partake of the chemically created treat. Shameless. YES, Virginia, the FDA labels HFCS safe. YES, according to http://www.hfcsfacts.com/, the FDA says that HFCS meets the requirements for use of the term "natural." That is the scary part...it began as corn, so it can bear the label "NATURAL." At least one article from April, 2008 quotes the FDA as stating that "products containing high fructose corn syrup cannot be considered 'natural' and should not be labeled as such."

The article promoting HFCS at hfcsfacts.com says "HFCS, table sugar, honey, and several fruit juices all contain the same simple sugars." "HFCS is safe and nutritionally the same as other common sweeteners like table sugar and honey." It further states that fructose should not be confused with HFCS, because HFCS contains glucose in combination with fructose, and that our bodies metabolize it the same as we metabolize sugar. Of course, this point is a matter of ongoing debate between the pro and con sides.

HFCS facts says that the product does not lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity. They say, it is about the CALORIC INTAKE and not about the component makeup of food and beverages that cause the obesity and diabetes problem. Hmmm...so how many calories, on average, does a person consume from HFCS? We cannot possibly gauge this, because it is in EVERYTHING! It shows up in HEALTH breads (go ahead, read the labels, I dare you!), drinks, chips, crackers, snacks, cereal bars, HEALTH cereals (look at All Bran, for one), to name just a few. For more to read on the subject, look at this thesis on Body Mass Index and Soft Drink Consumption Among Adolescents.

While the two sides hash it out in their GREED TANK, I will make my own informed choices for myself and my family. I will use my brain and not blindly follow the Corn Board or the Sugar Board or the FDA in making my decisions.

And, let me take a moment to set apart my honey and sugarcane. I can eat these raw. I can harvest these myself. I do not need a chemical plant to break them down for me. I do not need a genetically modified vegetable as a base to get me started. THAT is the kind of NATURAL I want to consume.

I READ EVERY LABEL ON EVERY FOOD OR DRINK ITEM I PURCHASE. If I cannot pronounce the name of an ingredient, or KNOW what the ingredient is, I DO NOT PURCHASE THE PRODUCT. very simple. I do not eat HFCS.

tiny disclaimer: I grew up drinking soft drinks, eating candy, chips, and all manner of other snacks. I have effectively eradicated these from my diet, and no longer purchase them. Luckily, I have always preferred savory, so had no real trouble giving up most of these. Soda was exponentially more difficult! WILLPOWER must win over addictive POISON.

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