Our Lady of Weight Loss

Our Lady of Weight Loss

The Truthiness About High Fructose Corn Syrup

Controversy: The Corn Refiners Association Takes Our Lady of Weight Loss to Task by Janice Taylor, Life & Wellness Coach, Author, Columnist and 50 pound big-time-loser! (For free consultation, write Janice.)
In my Tuesday’s blog post – Hungry and Cranky After School – I laid out in my usual spot-on humorous fashion useful and brilliant (if I say so myself) tips on “How to Keep Your Kid Happy and Healthy in the Face of School”.
In my #2 tip Read. Whether your child accompanies you to the grocery store or not; do spend some time reading the nutrition labels and comparing products together. Pay attention to the ingredients, and of course, portion size. Steer away from ‘enriched’ products and foods that have ‘high fructose corn syrup’ in them. (Enriched means that everything good has been stripped out, and the manufacturer had to put something back into it less it has no nutritional value and HFCS is simply unhealthy, in my opinion.)
. . . I briefly mentioned High Fructose Corn Syrup and received quite the e-mail from the Corn Refiners Association, letting me know that the “HFCS has a strong history as a safe ingredient recognized by food manufacturers and the U.S. government. In 1983, the Food and Drug Administration listed HFCS as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (known as GRAS status) for use in food, and reaffirmed that ruling in 1996. (61 Fed. Reg. 43447 (August 23, 1996), 21 C.F.R. 184.1866. Direct food substances affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe; High Fructose Corn Syrup – Final Rule.): ”
I’m not so thrilled with something that is Generally Recognized as Safe. I would prefer ‘most definitely.’ That aside as it a government regulatory issue … I contacted Dr. Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of “What to Eat” and “Food Politics,” and asked her, “What about HFCS – is it good, bad or just ugly?”
To which Dr. Nestle replied, “HFCS is basically the same as sucrose–table sugar–but we eat more of it. So it’s a matter of quantity not quality, although too much sugar of any kind is not a good idea.”
Indeed, too much sugar of any kind is not good for us, and it seems that High Fructose Corn Syrup is in just about everything.
Therefore, I stand by my #2 tip: READ THE LABEL, see what’s in the ‘food’ that you are giving your children. Just know that HFCS is sugar, and we don’t want too much of it in our diets, do we?
Thanks to Audrae Erickson, President, Corn Refiners Association, Washington, DC for writing me and to Dr. Marion Nestle for her quick response to my important question.
Spread the word, NOT the icing … (or in this case, the sugar)!

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  • Joan Rock

    I found a site that I can lookup all food products that have high fructose in them
    Or any other ingredient yellow 5, blue 1
    I sign up so any time they put a product in that has high fructose in it
    I get an email showing me what it is

  • ChatteringMind

    Hi Janice,
    Thanks for speaking out on this topic. I recently noticed that a favorite green tea drink of mine, Arizona, the one with the pretty green bottle designed to snare women such as myself, has high fructose corn syrup. Bummer. I’m not buying it anymore. Their sugar-free has the usual sugar-free nonsense in it too. Oh well. Onwards. I’ve taught my kids to read labels, and while they choose to ignore them sometimes, they do check.

  • Karen Brown

    The fact that it is in so many things, that it isn’t easily recognizable as a sweetener like ‘sugar’ is, and even is put into things where we would never put sugar, because it also is used to make things more shelf stable, to add viscosity, or moisture is what makes it such an unhealthy product.
    And no, ‘safe’ does NOT mean ‘healthy’. Bacon fat is ‘safe’, as in it isn’t toxic and a person can consume it without dying. Safe, and healthy, are two separate things. (Not that ‘generally recognized as safe’ is exactly the most glowing endorsement.
    Essentially, corn is subsidized, HFCS is cheaper than sugar, therefore it is put in EVERYTHING. Cheap way to make something taste better, as opposed to better ingredients.

  • NYCgrrl

    Janice — Thanks for writing about this. My understanding is that HFCS is much, much more concentrated than any form of naturally-occuring (or even normally-refined) sugar. It’s supersaturated with calories, and it doesn’t contain anything except calories. If it gives neither nutrition nor pleasure, why would anybody eat it?

  • Jen

    The production of High Fructose Corn Syrup, developed in the 1970’s, is a super sweetener made by processing corn starch to yield glucose, and then processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. Three different enzymes are needed to break down cornstarch, which is composed of chains of glucose molecules of almost infinite length, into the simple sugars glucose and fructose. Two of the enzymes used, alpha-amylase and glucose-isomerase, are genetically modified to make them more stable. Enzymes are actually very large proteins and through genetic modification specific amino acids in the enzymes are changed or replaced so the enzyme’s “backbone” won’t break down or unfold. This allows the industry to get the enzymes to higher temperatures before they become unstable.
    Is HFCS safe? Absolutely not. Studies have shown that HFCS is processed differently in our bodies. Because it is metabolized by the liver, fructose does not cause the pancreas to release insulin the way it normally does. Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar. Fructose raises serum triglycerides significantly and fructose ingestion does not increase the production of two hormones, insulin and leptin, that have key roles in the long-term regulation of food intake and energy expenditure. This may be one of the major reasons Americans continue to get fatter. The worst part of all this, is that High Fructose Corn Syrup is in thousands of food items; bread, jelly, syrup, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, bakery pies, ketchup, ice cream, Gatorade. The list goes on.
    If there is one thing consumers can do to help themselves become healthier, it would be to read labels and avoid all foods containing High Fructose Corn Syrup. Go back to eating more of the kinds of food our ancestors ate; food grown from the ground, fresh and unprocessed.

  • Johnny

    Hi Janice,
    I really agree with your adivce about reading the label. It only takes a few extra minutes, but taking this extra time will benefit you and your family.
    High Fructose Corn Syrup seems to be everywhere these days, but recently the public has taken some interest in the issue. As people begin to read the labels, they’re shocked to learn that many of their favorice products contain the dreaded high fructose corn syrup.
    Most soft drinks are out the window. However, some new drinks have popped up to meet the new consumer demand for natural sugar in their soda. I was visiting before I came to this page and they were discussing starting an “anti HFCS” soda to spread consumer awareness (but I’m not sure if you can but it yet)
    Anyway, an educated consumer is a healthier and more responsible consumer – make sure you do whats best for your family!

  • patti iverson

    My, Janice–you do have smart and intelligent readers! I’m happy you’re back in my computer world–and my heart! love patti

  • Rebekah

    My fiance’s doctor wrote a thesis (or something) on this particular issue once and received the same feedback from the CRA! I smell a conspiracy….
    Commenter Jen apparently has extensive knowledge on the process involved in producing HFCS. I think I’d rather listen to her–and my fiance’s doctor. It is best to buy organic. NO HFCS worries there.
    Too bad organic foods are so expensive. Not always an option for low-income families. Think that’ll ever change?

  • Karen Brown

    They used to have a phrase that goes ‘damning with faint praise’.
    Saying that HFCS is ‘generally recognized as safe’ sort of strikes me that way. It doesn’t say ‘healthy’, it only says ‘safe’. I think we were all aware that it isn’t cyanide. It won’t kill you immediately on consumption. But I don’t think that was the point being made anyway.
    But, generally, if the best thing that can be said about an additive is ‘well, it won’t kill you, at least not right off’, I’d say we’re likely better off without it.

  • Lisa | Holistic-Treatment-for-Depression

    I remember they used to say the same thing about trans fats, too — that there was no difference between them and other fats — and now they’ve certainly been overwhelmingly viewed as dangerous.
    Let’s return to a natural diet, one that contains all the foods our bodies recognize and are used to provide needed nutrients, including: butter instead of margarine, whole milk if you drink it instead of skim, and naturally-raised meats. Food should be a source of pleasure, and it should be real. And organic.
    Your Daily Foothold to Happiness

  • Cynthia1770

    My google alert for HFCS picked up your article. HFCS is not basically
    the same as sucrose. Doesn’t anybody care to do the math? HFCS 55, which sweetens every national brand of soda and sports drink, is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. While that appears to be “similar” to the 50:50 ratio found in sucrose, it is not. 55/45=1.22 or 122%. That means that everytime a teen is chugging a few cans of sugar soda their liver is receiving 22% more fructose (in excess of glucose). It is
    well documented that fructose is the moiety that can lead to long term
    health problems: metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes; and elevated
    triglycerides and cardiovascular disease.

  • starr

    CYNTHIA…you hit the nail on the head with the truth of HFCS!!!!
    My advice to add to that…for you mothers who say you have ADHD children….TAKE THEM OFFF HFCS FIRST….for a couple months before you decide to pop a pill in there mouth and you will witness a new birth of your baby!! ITs too bad that baby food cant be lived on for the elementary years, as soon as those days are over….diet issues erupt. Take action MOTHERS….against HFCS…it reacts to everyone different and I witness this in my OWN GRANDSON!!! Now he is a A-B student! Learning curve normal, as before he was confused and constantly in trouble until…NO MORE HFCS!!! (just a hint). try it!!
    Pills are too easy for the ADHD syndrome, especially if you are unaware of the reason and school plays a hard factor in YOUR DECISION!!as a parent! Dont let the child suffer! Diet is everything! You feed yourself well….feed your children well!..GOD BLESS TOO ALL! good luck!

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    Lots of specialists tell that loans aid people to live the way they want, just because they are able to feel free to buy needed things. Moreover, different banks present short term loan for young and old people.

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