Live Real. Eat Real.

High Fructose Corn Syrup By Any Other Name

Is still Genetically Modified Crap.

It’s been all over the news recently that the Corn Refiners Association is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup to “Corn Sugar” on food labels.  It seems their Sweet Surprise ad campaign, where one lady tells the other “Oh, you shouldn’t eat that, it has High Fructose Corn Syrup and is bad for you!” but gets a deer-in-the-headlights look on her face when asked to explain exactly how it is bad for you, was a bit of a bust and they’re trying to, well, sweeten up their image a bit.

Because the American Public is apparently just butt-ass stoopid.  *rolls eyes*

As a result of this bit of attempted chicanery, I’ve been doing a bit of research on the stuff.  (Ya gotta find a way to pass the time on those long, insomnia-driven nights…)  And here’s what I’ve found:

No one can agree on whether it’s worse for you than table sugar – nutritionally speaking.

For many years, fructose was used to sweeten products marketed to diabetics, because fructose doesn’t prompt an insulin response in the body.  However, it also suppresses the hormone leptin, which triggers satiety – a feeling of fullness.  Many people believe this causes the individual to overeat, because their brain just isn’t getting the message that they’ve had enough to eat, but from what I can find the jury is still out on that one.  Your body also metabolizes fructose differently than other sugars – via the liver as opposed to being absorbed directly into the bloodstream.  There is growing concern that because of this, HFCS consumption in large quantities can cause the types of liver disease usually found in alcoholics.  There have even been claims that HFCS contains mercury.

Then there’s the fact that 90% of all the corn in this country is genetically modified.  Nor will we go into the insanity that is government subsidized farming, or the damage mono-crop agriculture is doing to the environment.

The Corn Refiners Association tells us that HFCS is nutritionally no different from regular table sugar.  In a way, that’s correct: table sugar is about 50% fructose and 50% glucose.  The HFCS that is in, say, your PopTart is probably 42% fructose and 58% glucose.  The HFCS that sweetens your Pepsi (or Coke or A&W Root Beer or Mt. Dew or any other non-diet soda manufactured in the US) is 55% fructose and 45% glucose.  The HFCS that is in your Yoplait Light Yogurt is 90% fructose and 10% glucose.

What – you didn’t know that your “healthy” yogurt has HFCS in it?  Honey, it’s the second ingredient in some flavors. And that 90% HFCS is very popular in “low calorie” diet/snack foods, such as those new 100-calorie packs that are so ubiquitous these days.

So, let’s assume for a minute that the good ol’ Corn Refiners Association is right and HFCS is really no worse for you than table sugar and that it’s perfectly fine to consume in moderation.

I would like them to define “moderation.”  Because the shit is in EVERYTHING.  Don’t believe me?  Read the labels of everything you put in your shopping cart the next time you’re at the grocery store.  While it may be no surprise that Lucky Charms contains HFCS, would you believe the plain-Jane variety of Special K does?  Try finding a loaf of bread that doesn’t contain HFCS – you’re going to find yourself stuck in the bread aisle for awhile.  It’s in all sorts of things you’d never suspect, such as:

Most  pre-baked goods – HFCS is a dandy preservative

Stove Top Stuffing Mix

Most  Bottled Spaghetti Sauce

Claussen Kosher Dill Burger Slices

Most Salad Dressings, especially the low-fat variety

NyQuil (it is, in fact, very common in cough syrups)

Wheat Thins

Ritz Crackers

Contadina Tomato Paste

Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce

Miracle Whip

All Johnsonville sausages and brats

A-1 Steak Sauce

Worcestershire sauce

Fish Sauce

Just about every ketchup, barbecue sauce and pickle relish manufactured

“Honey” ham and turkey lunch meat

The list goes on.  And on. And on.

It’s hard to consume something in moderation when it is in just about everything.  Just another reason to ditch the processed crap, and just one more reason I love my whole foods diet.

Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday


17 comments

BE says:

What a scary subject for your new theme. Will it be safe to come back this month? Maybe it is better that they aren’t covering the fact that it is sugar. Their whole marketing campaign may backfire. Sugar is sugar – yuck!

Caro says:

Isn’t it a huge (no pun intended) eye opener to see how much sugar actually goes into so many of the items that we buy at the grocery store? I’m on a special diet that does not allow me to eat refined sugar… I can only have honey. Reading labels at the grocery store was surprising at first. I was amazed at how many foods, which didn’t even taste sweet, had sugar in them. Like my salad dressing! And some canned vegetables! Even some of the so called healthy stuff in the organic section contain a lot of sugar in the form of evaporated cane juice… not highly refined but still sugar. It’s just downright frustrating. Now, the surprise for me is when I can find regular items that don’t contain any added sugar.

Michele says:

I have always tried to; “make your own, grow your own (if you can), buy and eat local”. That said, JR is a huge fan of Fritos which I’m pretty sure has HFCS.

Americans can be the stupidest people around. They believe all kinds of crap they see on TV or hear on the radio.

The new masthead is up! Love it!
I drive myself a little crazy with the HFCS lingo, not wanting Sprite to be over-exposed to it, but finding it difficult to completely stop her from ingesting it, since she’s in daycare and I can’t watch over every little snack they give her. “NO graham crackers! No Goldfish crackers! No freezie-pops!” My kid absolutely loves freezie-pops.
So, I watch over everything she eats at home, keeping more to homemade than anything else, more for the fact that I want her to have a more balanced diet. If they give her processed foods at school, she gets the wholesome stuff at home. Poor thing has actually told me that daycare has the “fun snacks” when my offerings are not cool enough.
Great post, Jan. I agree with all of it.

Jane Gaston says:

Wonderful, useful post Jan and I so agree with you about reading ingredients labels … something I’ve been doing for years now. I wish my old brain could remember the name of that author I saw on Oprah a few months ago who said: “If your grandmother doesn’t recognize it, don’t buy it…” and he was referring to all the stuff on the grocery store aisles. And I so agee with you about the terrible danger our farms are in when it comes to feeding those poor animals and the result of the meat and poultry we’re putting on our tables… cows are meant to eat grass, not force fed corn!
Fantastic post and I hope you do many followups, Jan. We all need to hear this, believe it, and do something about it.

1. Cook your own food. Processed food tastes like crap. Cooking is not that hard and it does not take a long time. It just takes planning.

2. other non-diet soda manufactured in the US
Except for the Dr Pepper from the Dr Pepper bottling plant in Dublin, Texas. Real cane sugar! It tastes so much better than other soda.

3. Preach it, sister, about the farm bill. Why am I subsidizing Ted Turner and Sam Walton’s family? And why should milk prices be supported based on the Depression-era fact that there was not a good cold transportation system for milk? We can produce milk in Wisconsin and ship it to Florida without it spoiling now, people.

http://www.nypress.com/article-21342-the-making-of-manhattans-elite-welfare-farmers.html

LPC says:

I love your October blog theme. It’s glorious. And seriously, about the only place I will accept HCFS is in my A-1 Steak Sauce.

Loving the October theme you’ve got going! I need to go back to seasonal changes on my blog… ;)

It’s amazing how much of ‘every day’ stuff has HFCS in it, isn’t it? It’s hard to stay away from processed food when it’s in your face all the time, but I’m working on it! ;)

Lori says:

LOVE your new header picture! Of course you know that I am already on this bandwagon. It’s exactly why I am making our yogurt, breads and all the other stuff I make from scratch. I’m not saying we don’t ever buy the stuff with HFCS in it but for the most part we try to keep it out of our house. Thankfully I have kids that think cherry tomatoes are candy and beg me to buy fresh broccoli and green beans so on the occasions candy is allowed it’s a special thing. :) Hope you and yours have a great weekend….and I hope you are getting some sleep and feeling better. XX

Erin says:

Amen. If I only could get a stronger glasses prescription for reading all the labels… :-)

You said it! Thing is, HFCS also comes in many disguises. It can be named glucose-fructose, dextrose, maltodextrin (corn), I will personally love the “new” better name -corn sugar.
I think that this vile crap is what is currently fueling our diabetes crisis. I agree with other posters here, stick with the natural stuff!

Jason says:

It’s not in my ketchup!

It is very hard to eat these days.

[...] click here High Fructose Corn Syrup By Any Other Name [...]

Mama Badger says:

Ewww. It is hard to feed small children well these days. We try sticking to all natural treats, or at least things sweetened with honey or real sugar. It’s even harder when the folks around you (grand parents, day care providers) don’t have the same ideas. I can control what they get in their lunchbox, and what I put on the table.

Has anyone really wondered why cancer and infertility are sky rocketing? Hmmm, could be all the krappe that our bodies just can’t filter out…

Everything you eat, every bite you take, is genetically modified. Humans have been genetically modifying food since they started planting crops. The difference is that what once took generations (plant generations, not human) is now faster. So we need to be careful, of course, to protect delicate ecosystems. Maybe the bees prefer the moldy stuff, and we need the bees so we have to try again, make a compromise between what suits us and what suits them.

But there is nothing inherently different about what is now called “GM” food than what you ate as a kid, or what Adam and Eve ate. Human agriculture is an experiment in genetic modification and always has been. Let’s see if we cross this with that whether it will taste better, grow stronger, last longer, be less yummy to bugs.

There is nothing any more intrinsically wrong with GM than marrying the smart, curly haired man because he might give you smart, curly headed kids, though it might turn out they were left handed weirdos with ADHD.

If they are our kids we love them anyway (especially if they are lefthanded). If it’s corn, we plough up the crop and try crossing a new variety.

Either way, it’s all GM… not evil. just a tool that we have to be careful about, especially now it has got faster and more predictable.

I would worry a lot more about the American need for everything — your evidence on bread is telling — to be sweet. Almost no food is safe. There’s good evidence that we are biologically disposed from earliest infancy to like sweet. But there is also good evidence that it isnt safe to indulge that disposition in the way we do.

Oopps, sorry. Down from the soap box.

Jan says:

There is a great deal of difference between selective/cross breeding – a practice that predates agriculture – and manipulating the genetic code of said plant or animal, especially by introducing foreign DNA of another species that would never occur in nature. Genetic modification at the DNA level is a brand-spanking new science – too new to fully understand how it will affect ourselves and our environment. These practices are already backfiring – just ask the execs at Monsanto.

The point I was making is that all of human agriculture is based on GM. Selective and crossbreeding manipulated the the genetic codes of animals. That was what it was about, though the practicioners didn’t know the details. I stick to my statement that it has been the goal for a couple of thousand of years, and that is a lot of plant cycles…

Okay, the current manipulators are sometimes getting it wrong. And they do need to be careful, maybe much more careful than they are. But all I am really saying is that GM is a tool, not an ideology, and it is a very old tool, though some of the technics are, as you say, new.

If they can get it right, and do it responsibly, there is hope for feeding many poor and hungry people, especially in Africa.

(And I know the economics are complex — who owns the intellectual copyright to the seed etc…) But I think if we can solve the science, and I think we can, then we can solve the economics. And I hate to listen to knee jerk nonsense that condemns GM without any idea that it is simply an extension of what has been going on since we first deliberately grew plants from seeds.

I am not saying you are part of that mindless crowd. I just wanted to throw a lone middle class middle age voice in to say that human manipulation of agriculture is as old as human agriculture.

If any of this makes no sense it is because I have been up for about 36 hours flying back from the west coast USA to England… So forgive the high horse, or anything worse. ZZZZ

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