Friday, January 29, 2010

Repost: HFCS - A FavoriteThings not so Favorite!!!!!

I have decided to re post this blog post that I wrote some time ago because of an Oprah show that aired a couple days ago. Micheal Pollan was a guest on this show and he was talking about the documentary Food Inc and his new manual called Food Rules : An Eaters Manual.
Also, I have been seeing the commercials (posted below) pop up on tv again after not seeing them for a while.





















Over the past couple of weeks I have been seeing tv commercials and newspaper ads about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
HFCS is a sweetener that is sweeter and cheaper than sugar and the food industry puts it in almost everything . It is in almost every processed and frozen food. It is also in many foods like bread, condiments, crackers, bagels-foods that are not necessarily sweet.




The HFCS ads are basically telling consumers that HFCS is just as good for us to eat as sugar. They also mention that HFCS has the same amount of calories as sugar and should be used in moderation like sugar. Plus they tell us that HFCS is made from corn-so how bad could it be right? Yeah it is made from corn but not that supersweet corn that our parents, and grandparents ate as children. It is made from GMO (genetically modified organism), hybrid corn that is developed by scientists. This hybrid corn is developed and grown specifically for processing into other products such as animal feed, ethanol, HFCS, and other products.

HFCS also metabolizes in the body differently that sugar. Sugar digests in the stomach while HFCS digests in the liver. Therefore the liver releases more triglycerides (fat cells) and that can increase the risk for heart disease. Plus, HFCS lowers the release of leptin which is a hormone that lets the body know it is full. This is how one can drink a soda or juice, eat a snack, and still want something to eat minutes later. Since the body is not satisfied one can eat all day and never feel full.

I personally have eliminated HFCS from my diet and and have been doing so for about 3 years. Once I started eating real, unprocessed, and minimally processed foods my appetite changed. I did not find myself craving sodas, and cookies like I did before. I lost weight and did not feel so hungry all the time. The healthier I ate the more I began to dislike the taste of "fake food". I replaced artificial sweeteners with raw sugar, agave nectar, yacon syrup, stevia (I use the green whole leaf stevia powder instead of the white powders). I replaced soda with blended fruit and seltzer. I replaced candy bars with real chocolate or carob. Chips, pretzels, and other snacks were replaced with healthier versions from health food stores. These changes made a big difference. And please note that for every unhealthy food or snack, there is a healthier version. And I am not saying it's ok eat tons of snacks as long as they don't have HCFS; these snacks do have calories. However, I believe that these healthier snacks satisfy hunger more than their unhealthier counter parts.

Therefore, I sincerely hope that consumers do more research about what they eat and do not depend on tv commercials and newspaper ads to tell what is ok for them. Although the fact that these ads are on may be a result of consumers doing research and rejecting products with HFCS. Maybe the food industry is starting to feel the pinch of people eating healthier . Maybe the industry sees that more people are opting to read ingredients, and nutrition facts instead of taking the marketing buzz words on the label as fact. I sure hope that this is the case.

Here is a funny parody of one of the commercials