Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can I Just Have Sugar, Please

Yesterday at the grocery store, my son asked for bran flakes. Not Lucky Charms, not Fruity Pebbles, bran flakes. A good choice right? I thought so until I inspected the ingredients and found that every brand of bran flakes contained High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). The same was the case with the yogurt. I had to look at 4 brands before I found a yogurt with just plain sugar.

I'm not as bad an ingredient snob as some people. I don't believe that vegetarian or organic is the way to go. We eat treats in moderation and I'm not afraid to buy the kids a Happy Meal. But I do believe in making healthy choices when possible, choosing whole foods with ingredients I recognize and avoiding processed foods.

The Corn Refiners Association has been putting out commercials telling us that HFCS is just like sugar, but studies show otherwise. A controversial Princeton Study on rats concluded, "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight." There is also speculation that HFCS is metabolized differently, leading to more belly fat, higher levels of triglycerides and an increased risk of diabetes.

Last year, a study posted in Environmental Health found that half of the HFCS samples tested contained mercury. Low level mercury exposure has been linked to learning disorders. I don't know what is true, but why take chances when you can just choose sugar which has a track record longer than 40 years?


  1. sugar surely costs more to produce, otherwise why else would companies switch to HFCS? and why, excactly, does it cost more to purchase foods with less salt? healthy choices always cost more, it seems. ah, the days when we could walk to our home-canned goods and gardens. but then families wouldn't be able to survive that either, as now it usually takes two incomes to raise a family.

  2. HFCS is found in the strangest food items--Sweet pickles, Bread, Maraschino cherries, Rose's Lime Juice (ah, so much for my yummy vodka gimlets), Baked beans, Spaghetti sauce--and I could go on and on. It is in brand name foods that we have all been eating since childhood and the recipes have been altered without our knowledge. Please research what companies produce this abomination and then research what lobbying they do and for whom. FOLLOW THE DOLLAR. And BUYER BEWARE--read all ingredient lists and please don't buy foods made with this stuff!

  3. But Gimlets are so tasty... :(

    I certainly do all I can to avoid HFCS!