Kick High Fructose Corn Syrup to the Curb!
Recently while watching television, I saw a commercial for high fructose corn syrup. Having refused to buy products containing the substance for years, I could not believe my eyes and ears.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was invented (or, more accurately, concocted) in 1957 and invaded the American food market in the mid-1970s. Thirty years in our food and they have never had to advertise. Why start now?
Because people are waking up! The Corn Refiners Association wants to hold on to the market and dispel rumors that their syrup is unhealthy. I am suspicious of anyone that has to defend their product so adamantly after decades of silently flavoring almost everything.
So, Is It Unhealthy or Not?
There have not been enough scientific studies to fully answer that question. What we do know is that you cannot make it yourself in your own kitchen. I also have a problem with genetically modified corn, the mother of HFCS. Organic, sustainable, family farms are not growing genetically modified corn. If you're ever on hulu.com, check out "The Future of Food" for more on that moral dilemma.
If you are looking for ways to live a healthy lifestyle, you should be seeking out whole, minimally-processed foods. High fructose corn syrup is the epitome of highly-processed. By eating whole foods, we are getting everything we need. Corn on the cob is sweet, but it contains fiber and vitamins that balance it out. It's sweetness is natural. HFCS is like cheating... trying to get the sweet without the work.
I recently picked up a can of beans at the store and was dismayed to find "sugar" on the ingredient list. I don't need my black beans to be sweet! Are we so far removed from what food really tastes like that we think EVERYTHING we eat must be sweet?
Say no to sweetened food. Say yes to real food that tastes the way it grows right out of the ground!
I Can't Get Rid of This Stuff!!!
If you commit to remove high fructose corn syrup from your diet, be prepared to get frustrated. This stuff is everywhere! Yogurt, bread, granola bars, peanut butter, ketchup and salad dressing. If you've never noticed it before, go to your pantry right now and just start reading labels. You'll be shocked at how often "high fructose corn syrup" appears.
If you're like me, you'll try to disrupt your eating and shopping as little as possible and just find products without crazy ingredients in them. Here's the rub. Alternative brands are often very expensive, and they contain table sugar instead. I found that a great solution is to simply not buy processed products at all. Eliminate them when possible. We now munch on fresh fruit and vegetables or homemade trail mix instead of granola bars.
It is difficult to go against mainstream. It may not be easy to try to reduce the sweeteners in your diet. But the benefits are well worth it. By eating un-sweetened, natural, whole foods you will improve your digestion and metabolism, be a more healthy weight, and your liver will thank you!
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