Just Say No...
To High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup, also known as HFCS, is widely used as a preservative and a sweetener in processed foods instead of sugar.
Through a complicated and highly refined process, glucose is extracted from cornstarch and then converted into fructose.
This mixture is actually a high percentage of fructose combined with glucose that can withstand a long shelf life. This costs food manufacturers much less than sugar does. Both of these elements make it the preferred choice for producers of soft drinks, condiments and a wide variety of processed foods.
Don't be misled by the television commercials telling you high fructose corn syrup is the same as sugar. Having similar calorie counts isn't the problem.
Fructose A Healthy Alternative to Sugar?
While many assume fructose, because it is found in fruit and honey, to be a healthier alternative than sugar, few realize that high fructose corn syrup is not the same as pure fructose.
When fructose is combined with high concentrations of glucose, the mixture metabolizes in the blood stream the same way that sugar does. Also, in testing on rats, high amounts of fructose caused severe liver damage similar to the damage noted in the livers of alcoholics.
Fructose, when consumed by eating a fresh piece fruit, is a healthy alternative because it's a natural, whole food complete with nutrients and fiber.GM, Another Reason to Avoid It
genetically modified foods
genetically modified foods is also on the rise, giving health conscious individuals another reason to avoid this additive. Not only is HFCS often made from genetically modified corn, but the alpha-amylase and glucose-isomerase enzymes used in HFCS are also genetically modified so as to increase their stability as they withstand the high temperatures needed to process them.
How It Affects Your Health
HFCS is believed to be a main contributing factor to life-threatening illnesses such as diabetes and obesity. While some believe that HFCS is an acceptable sweetener for diabetics, because it restricts the production of insulin and Leptin, no high fructose corn syrup should be consumed by diabetics, especially when listed at the top of the ingredient list.
As children are more likely to consume higher amounts of high fructose corn syrup in snacks and other processed foods, of particular concern is the growing problem of autism, diabetes and obesity in these younger populations. How Does HFCS Lead to Obesity?
There are scientific studies proving that HFCS leads to obesity. The hormone Ghrelin is secreted when your stomach is empty telling your brain that you want food. After consuming a sufficient amount of food, your fat cells secrete a hormone called Leptin which tells your brain, you're full and so you stop eating.
However, since high fructose corn syrup inhibits the production of Leptin, your body never gets the message that you're full and you never feel satiated. So it's easy to over eat when the ghrelin production keeps sending signals to the brain telling you that you're still hungry.
Now it's easier to understand how
high fructose corn syrup can lead to weight gain
and obesity. As a side note, if you don't get enough sleep your body secretes more ghrelin and less leptin is released.
The Mercury Connection
Mercury has recently been discovered in high fructose corn syrup from companies that manufacture the sweetener, typically the older facilities. Mercury is a highly toxic substance that accumulates in the body and is known for causing brain damage and a host of cognitive impairments. No level of mercury exposure is considered safe, yet many consumers are unaware of how often they risk contamination by consuming processed foods made with high fructose corn syrup.Not Surprisingly,
The CRA Promotes HFCS As Safe
You may have noticed the recent multi-media campaign about high fructose corn syrup. There is a bombardment of television commercials, advertisements and articles assuring the public that HFCS is not a health risk. It's important to note that these advertisements are sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA).
Obviously, they are concerned about the rising consumer awareness of the dangers of HFCS and the negative impact it could have on their profits. Read The Labels
Reading the ingredients on our food labels is very important. The Food and Drug Administration has been rather indecisive in its position on whether or the not products containing high fructose corn syrup can be labeled as ‘natural’.
Label reading is also important because many unsuspecting foods like ketchup, salad dressings, certain breads, beverages, nutritional bars, some cough syrups, dairy products, canned goods, preserved meats and certain so-called natural sodas are just a few of the unexpected places where high fructose corn syrup may be found.
Keeping Your Family Happy Without HFCS
You're bound to get some moans and groans from your family when you decide not to purchase their favorite packaged treat. Deciding to make healthy choices for our family is a parent's responsibility to ensure their good health. Even if it's just you, you deserve better health too!
Yes, it is going take more effort, but try to make more foods from scratch. If you must use prepared foods, read the labels and try to buy frozen veggies that are pre-chopped to save time. Make "cooking and baking" a family activity, most children will always answer "yes" if you ask them to help you cook or bake cookies.
So many people don't cook anymore, if you're kids are old enough, take turns and have them make dinner one night. Prepare to be amazed, they can be pretty creative!
There are some great cookbooks that focus on cooking quick meals and many other recipies for using the leftovers in other tasty meals. This is an efficient and economical way to cook, the cookbook I use is Robin Miller's Quick Fix Meals.Of course, we can't forget about the Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals cookbooks for putting together a quick meal.
Also, when we go out to eat, I always ask which salad dressings they make "in-house" because so many prepared dressings contain high fructose corn syrup. Even at home I make our favorite dressings from scratch. It's so simple and they taste better too. If you have a Magic Bullet it's so quick and the clean up is easy too.
I also try to shop at Whole Foods because I can find more products without these harmful additives and preservatives.
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