Thursday, December 17, 2009

Leptin: Controlling your weight and risk for Alzheimers

"basically, consuming high levels of HFCS can silently trigger leptin resistance slowly. When looking into the Alzheimers correlation, it makes you wonder if consuming HFCS could be correlated to this terrible disease."

People who have higher levels of leptin, an appetite suppressing hormone, may be less likely to develop Alheimers disease or dementia than others according to a recent study, But what is leptin and how does our body regulate it's production?

Leptin plays a key role in regulating your body's appetite and metabolism. It's also an appetite suppressant. It was believed that the more you weighed, the less responsive to leptin your body was, which would consequently lead to more weight gain.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

High-fructose corn syrup is 'awful' for us

This is in response to Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, who wrote that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than regular sugar ["High-fructose corn syrup no worse than sugar and juices," Dec. 9].

Science has proven the awful effects of HFCS and why it's such a problem more so now than ever.

First, I want to ask a simple question: Why has diabetes risen 400 percent in 20 years?

Diabetes is directly related to diet, which in turn is directly related to our health. It's not heredity, not coincidence, but our food supply.

A bit of science: Studies on the Maillard reaction indicate that fructose contributes to diabetic complications more readily than glucose.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

PepsiCo To Boost Investment In Gatorade, Launch New Products

The company plans to replace high fructose corn syrup in all Gatorade products with sugar and other sweeteners starting next year.

PepsiCo (PEP) said it will invest $30 million next year in its key Gatorade brand, making a series of changes to the sports drinks that will include the launch of new products and the removal of high fructose corn syrup from all Gatorade offerings.

The moves are intended to revive a brand that has been a weak spot for the beverage company during the recession.

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Child diabetes blamed on food sweetener

High-fructose corn syrup, or glucose-fructose syrup, is listed as an ingredient in many food and drink products in Britain, although it is virtually impossible for consumers to know the quantity and ratio of fructose used. Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, and a US government adviser on health policy, said: “Historically, we never consumed much sugar. We’re not built to process it."
Scientists have proved for the first time that a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks can damage human metabolism and is fuelling the obesity crisis.

Fructose, a sweetener derived from corn, can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs and is able to trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.

It has increasingly been used as a substitute for more expensive types of sugar in yoghurts, cakes, salad dressing and cereals. Even some fruit drinks that sound healthy contain fructose.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup: Is it killing you?

There has been much debate lately about High Fructose Corn Syrup. The scientists say that it may be unhealthy for you and make you fat. Where as a manufacturer for HFCS says that is not true. Well, here are the facts as we know them right now.

Archer Daniels Midland, a company that makes HFCS, which is the main ingredient used in sodas, ketchup, barbecue sauce, cereals, snack foods and other processed foods says that HFCS does not make you fat.

Health officials and many scientists have conducted studies that show that HFCS may lead to fat accumulation, obesity and other health problems.

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HFCS, Laser Eyes and Jason's Deli

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The 2 Most Dangerous Ingredients For Your Health

When you make a decision to gain control over your diet habits to lose pounds and body fat, it is vital to avoid two ingredients : high-fructose corn syrup and trans-fats. These two health-robbing chemicals are present in a wide-variety of prepared foods, including baked goods, soft-drinks and salad dressings.

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Monday, December 7, 2009


The NEW inGREEDients trailer!!! (Contains images that may not be suitable for children or the faint of heart) The documentary film inGREEDients took the independent film festival circuit by storm this year winning several awards and was accepted at some of the top international festivals. The movie connects diet and health; teaches how to read a food label; and uncovers some scary truths about our food supply. "If you eat food then you have to see this movie.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Partnership is not to the benefit of consumers

If you have been paying close attention to the health news the past month or so, you have probably heard that the organization to which I belong -- the American Academy of Family Physicians -- has teamed up with Coca-Cola to promote health.

I am not kidding. This has actually happened.

The AAFP has received, in my opinion, well-deserved criticism for this connection. Some background: The academy has launched its Consumer Alliance Web site, which aims to partner with corporations to increase health-education messages.

In the case with Coca-Cola, the academy received an educational grant in the strong six figures to "enable consumers to make informed decisions about what they drink based on individual need."

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Recent Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury

Until the Food and Drug Administration conducts investigations into the claims made by this study, you should steer clear of products containing high-fructose corn syrup.

If you’ve recently had a “healthy” snack such as yogurt, or perhaps some bottled juice, then you’ve probably ingested high-fructose corn syrup. This popular sweetener is found in a number of packaged foods and drinks, and even some children’s vitamins. High-fructose corn syrup has come under fire in the past for its negative health benefits, but now there might be another reason to avoid it: a recent study found that many forms of high-fructose corn syrup contain evidence of mercury.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Give Up Foods That Have High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Are you trying to cut calories, burn fat and lose weight? One quick way to cut calories and shrink your belly fat is to give up foods that have high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as an ingredient. High-fructose corn syrup is found in more products than you might imagine.

If HFCS is one of the first items listed on the food label, don't eat that food!

Whoever came up with HFCS in the 1980s pretty much made a "deal with the devil." It is cheaper for food manufacturers than regular sugar (sucrose) so that's why you see it so much on food labels. Sugary drinks, baked goods, frozen foods and even foods like ketchup are laced with this stuff. Nutritionists point to HFCS consumption as a major player in the nation's obesity crisis. The fact that we eat HFCS is the real problem!

Why is HFCS so deadly? Here it is: the body processes the fructose in HFCS differently than it does regular sugar. It also lowers the hormone leptin in your body. Leptin signals to your brain that you're full. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream (especially true with sugary drinks because they are processed so fast)! So, your body wants more and stores more fat at the same time.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Toxicity often cause of pain

What a surprise it was to find out someone from Washington, D.C. read my local Citizen article last month. Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Growers Association, wants me to tell readers that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is “nutritionally equivalent to sucrose,” or table sugar. She provided links from scientific sources to support the claim.

While her information is correct regarding the comparison of glucose and fructose contents of both sugars, science is not needed to understand how HFCS is made. In order to separate corn starch from the kernel, a caustic soda often contaminated with mercury is used. Half of all HFCS products tested are found to contain mercury. The starch is then mixed with genetically modified enzymes that were products of bacterial and fungal processes.

My concern is that the manufactured fructose in HFCS is not the same fructose that is in sucrose (table sugar from sugar cane or beet). Refined fructose not only converts to fat much faster, it also accelerates fatty liver disease.

While all sugars should be consumed in moderation, it has become nearly impossible to do so in our modern food supply. Also, be aware there is no mercury level considered safe.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Q&A: High-fructose corn syrup and liver damage?

Is it true that high-fructose corn syrup can damage your liver? —D.S.M., Framingham, Mass.

It’s unclear, though there are other good reasons for limiting your intake of the sweetener. Animal studies have found that consuming a lot of high-fructose corn syrup can damage the liver and contribute to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Top 10 Fattest Countries in the world

"In the early 1960s, 24 percent of Americans were overweight. Today, two-thirds of Americans are too fat, and the numbers on the scale keep going up. Health experts attribute the rise to an over-production of oil, fat and sugar -- the result of government farm subsidies started in the 1970s that made it much cheaper to manufacture products like high fructose corn syrup, a common ingredient in processed foods."

If you tend to pack on a few pounds over the holidays, blame it on globalization. As the world has grown smaller, we've all grown larger -- alarmingly so. In countries around the world, waistlines are expanding so rapidly that health experts recently coined a term for the epidemic: globesity.

The common fat-o-meter among nations is body mass index (BMI), a calculation based on a person's height and weight. The World Health Organization defines "overweight" as an individual with a BMI of 25 or more and "obese" as someone with a BMI of 30 or higher. Yes, it's a big world after all:

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ill-conceived US corn subsidies make "liquid Satan" high-fructose corn syrup a cheap ingredient

United States crop subsidies have long directed the course of food consumption patterns among Americans. When a crop like corn is subsidized by the government, food producers hone in on it for use in their products because it is cheap. In the case of corn, the crop is subsidized so heavily that it sells below the cost of production, leading to its excessive use as a sweetener in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

For years the federal government has subsidized corn to the tune of several billion dollars a year. Much of America's heartland is covered by endless swaths of corn, often genetically modified because of the huge cash incentives offered to farmers who grow it. As a result, corn-based ingredients are present in a great majority of processed food products. Ingredients like maltodextrin, corn starch (typically modified in some way), corn syrup, and HFCS can be found in virtually every processed food.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Exposed: Bogus Claims On Food Labels

"You might get a reasonable amount of fiber per serving from Pop-Tarts with added fiber, but it comes along with high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil."

Every time I go to the grocery store I seem to leave ranting about another dubious or downright bogus health claim on packaged food. Take, for example, the now-pulled assertion that Frosted Krispies "Now Helps Support Your Child's Immunity," which Michael Y. Park reported on here in the Epi-Log a few weeks ago. Questionable claims were dealt a blow when the "Smart Choices" food labeling system, which had given a thumbs up to sugary cereals such as Froot Loops, suspended operations a few weeks ago (read the full story, Food Label Program to Suspend Operations from The New York Times).

Now the editors of ShopSmart magazine (published by Consumers Union, which also publishes Consumer Reports) are striking out against dubious claims. The December issue of the magazine highlights amd debunks common food label myths.

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King Corn: The Secrets of High Fructose Corn Syrup

"For the first time in world history, obesity is associated with poverty."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Five Steps to Overcoming Gout Naturally

High-Fructose Corn Syrup is a Major Risk Factor

Often in past centuries, gout was laughingly passed off as an affliction of the rich, because it usually affected those who had easy access to fancy foods and plenty of liquor. However today we know better and this report will review these myths and help you understand the real cause of gout.

Anyone who has experienced the excruciating pain of a gout attack knows that it is no laughing matter. Some sufferers have described the intense pain of a gout attack as similar to being burned by a flame. Others say it feels like they were skewered by a hot poker.

A gout attack, or “flare,” usually strikes suddenly, and generally at night. Mysteriously, it often targets the large joint of your big toe. Your skin becomes red, inflamed, and overly sensitive. Even the light pressure of a bed sheet can become unbearable. A fever may also be present.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cane Sugar Cola Diet Theory is Investigated

Coca-Cola is coming up with new products based on old recipes. Pepsi Throwback and some Coca-Colas bottled in Mexico are made with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Some say they can taste the difference. And some of these soda drinkers even say that they have lost weight switching to the cane sugar formula. So why isn't soda made with cane sugar like it was a long time ago? U of U nutritionist, Wayne Askew gives a simple answer: "High fructose corn syrup is cheaper to use as a sweetener than sugar." Askew says corn syrup's reaction to the taste buds, rather than the calorie content, is why some people have found they lose weight.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obesity in America linked to 'liquid Satan' from Iowa corn fields

The link has not been proven, but the theory is compelling. It suggests that America is doomed to lead the world’s obesity rankings as long as the process by which it elects its presidents starts in Iowa — a state known for its cornfields and corn subsidies.

With a minimum price of $1.90 per bushel of corn guaranteed by the 2007 Farm Bill, activists say that the crop is a guaranteed winner for the farmers of the Midwest — and one of the results is something called super-abundant high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Known to its detractors as “liquid Satan”, HFCS is the sweetener of choice in the vast bulk of fizzy drinks and packaged cakes and biscuits consumed in the US. Its producers have long enjoyed the solid support of the US Senate and most presidential candidates, who gravitate every four years to Iowa to pledge their allegiance to its voters. “Farm subsidies are a third rail of Iowa politics,” a former staffer on Senator John Edwards’s presidential campaign said yesterday. “You don’t touch them.”

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High Fructose Corn Syrup....CORN IS IN EVERYTHING!

Friday, November 13, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup: A Recipe for Hypertension

A diet high in fructose increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. Cutting back on processed foods and beverages that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may therefore help prevent hypertension.

Over the last 200 years, the rate of fructose intake has directly paralleled the increasing rate of obesity. Obesity has increased sharply in the last 20 years since the introduction of HFCS. Today, Americans consume 30 percent more fructose than they did 20 years ago, and up to four times more than 100 years ago.

Researchers examined more than 4,500 adults with no prior history of hypertension. Fructose intake was calculated based on a dietary questionnaire. People who ate or drank more than 74 grams per day of fructose (2.5 sugary soft drinks per day) greatly increased their risk of developing hypertension.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Green Dilemma • Gatorade vs. Vitaminwater

"The primary sweetener in Gatorade is high-fructose corn syrup, a sugar substitute that has been linked to obesity and a laundry list of other health issues."

Here’s a question to chew on: Do nutritional choices constitute a sustainability issue?

We say yes, that participating in the effort to create a more sustainable world requires that you be alive and well, and that maintaining good health means conserving resources better used by others.

A lifestyle that includes a vigorous fitness regimen is, or course, a great way to get there. But what about replenishing your body following exercise? The market for sports drinks has exploded, presenting fitness enthusiasts with an array of choices. Which offers the most health-friendly option? Or is there an alternative of the none-of-the-above variety?

We ask simply, sports drinks or not?

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Produces Toxic Chemical "HMF" When Heated

If you know anything about the food supply, you know that honey bees are a crucial part of the food production chain. In the United States, they pollinate roughly one-third of all the crops we eat, and without them, we'd be facing a disastrous collapse in viable food production.

That's why, when honey bees started to disappear a few years ago, scientists scrambled to find the root cause of the phenomenon, which has since been dubbed "Colony Collapse Disorder."

The name is a bit of a misnomer, though. It's not really a "disorder." It's more of a poisoning. Or at least that's what we may be learning from new research that's just been published in the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

How Corn Syrup Wrecks the Rain Forest

You may have seen the weird little TV ad where a sugar cube is being interrogated about why Americans are so obese. The sugar cube fingers high fructose corn syrup.

But the interrogator doesn't buy it. He scolds the sugar cube, telling him that calories are the same, whether they come from sugar or corn syrup. This message, of course, is brought to you by friends of the corn industry.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup: "Economically Evil"

Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Courts Force U.S. Reckoning With Dominance of GM Crops

Eighty-five percent of the corn crop is also genetically modified, and, in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, is found throughout the food system.

These days, there is no rarer commodity in farming than trust.

Take Oregon's Willamette Valley, which for generations has been the germ of the U.S. sugar beet industry, producing nearly all the country's seeds. Such breeding is complicated when neighbors grow genetically similar crops and stiff Pacific winds, baffled by the Coast Range mountains, shove pollen every which way.

But Willamette's growers have cooperated, establishing a system in which seed producers flag their plots on a collective map, giving fair warning of what is grown where. Voluntary distances between crops were established and, if abutting farms had a conflict in what they grew, well, they could usually figure it out.

"It's a very complex system based on social relationships," said Frank Morton, a Willamette organic seed farmer. "We can all operate in the same area without screwing up each other's work."

That changed, Morton said, when the genetically modified (GM) beets arrived.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rethinking what you're drinking

The most insidious culprit - high fructose corn syrup - is found in many prepared and processed foods and beverages. Trotter explains that this substance is metabolized by the body in a completely different fashion than sugar - going immediately into fat production. According to Dr. Trotter, the average American consumes 26 pounds of high fructose corn syrup annually. Just 30 years ago, that number was zero.

Sodas prime culprit in childhood obesity

Terry Nieves, the program director for the Mendocino County Schools Network for a Healthy California, holds up an empty 20-ounce soda bottle. In it are 17 cubes of sugar.

This corroborates research by the UCLA Center of Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which states that there is a strong correlation between soda consumption and obesity.

"Based on this research, adults who drink one soda or more per day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight, regardless of income or ethnicity," explains Nieves.

To combat what some health officials see as an epidemic rivaling tobacco addiction, Nieves and her staff are offering a "Rethink Your Drink" campaign throughout the county.

"The average teenager drinks 750 cans of soda per year," says Nieves. Public Health Officer Dr. Marvin Trotter states that at the current levels, one in three children will become diabetic by the age of 40. Sweetened beverages, according to Nieves, are fueling the problem.

"Over the past 30 years, Americans are consuming 278 calories more per day. There are 240 calories in the average bottle of soda," says Nieves. She has been providing "Sugar Savvy" trainings for educators and health professionals, trying to spread the word about the long-term dangers of drinking sweetened beverages and eating foods high in sugar.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Do not tax Coke, tax corn syrup instead

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) first began making high fructose corn syrup in the mid-1970s, and it has transformed America, literally.

A few idealistic health researchers want to tax sugary soft drinks and they are getting a hearing in Washington.

Here in Atlanta, of course, we’re outraged. Tax Coca-Cola? You may have built your city on rock and roll, but we built this city on Coke and a smile.

Atlanta has no coast, no river port, no big store of natural resources. The reason this city exists is because The Coca-Cola Co. willed it into being.

Who you think gave you Santa Claus, sonny? Haddon Sundblom probably drew that twinkle in his eye with Rhett Butler in mind. Fiddle dee-dee indeed. You can have my Coca-Cola when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Million Dollar Ad Launch Challenges Misinformation about High Fructose Corn Syrup

If you're into shaking your skull in disbelief, be sure to read (via the link below) all about the "nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom" and it's startup funding from Philip Morris tobacco company.

Today, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) launched a new million dollar ad campaign designed to put an end to the blatant inaccuracies surrounding the much-maligned ingredient: high fructose corn syrup. The campaign will communicate to the public what most experts already know, that high fructose corn syrup is nutritionally the same as sweeteners such as table sugar and honey.

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Read All About the Center for Consumer Freedom

Monday, September 28, 2009

Peeps are Evil - High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Direct Link (and Larger Pic)

Grace Mugabe's dairy farm in deal with Nestlé

Mugabe and his henchmen should be tried for crimes against humanity. Nestle, in addition to packing their foods with high fructose corn syrup, has chosen to do business with the brutal dictator.

Grace Mugabe, the wife of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, owns dairy farms that sell up to a million litres of milk a year to food giant Nestlé, London's Sunday Telegraph reported.

Grace Mugabe took over six of the country's most valuable white-owned farms around 2002, the newspaper said.

Mugabe, his wife and other members of his administration are the subject of European Union and United States sanctions as a result of their controversial 29-year rule over once-prosperous Zimbabwe.

Nestlé, the multinational food company which is the largest customer of Grace Mugabe's dairy farm, is not obliged to comply with those sanctions as its headquarters are in Switzerland, the Telegraph said.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Conspiracy for Fat America & High-Fructose Corn Syrup

The connection between high fructose corn and obesity, fast food, Coke, Pepsi & diabetes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup and the Fibromyalgia Connection: Fibromyalgia Recovery Handbook

Relief at last!! Living with fibromyalgia can be debilitating, miserable, and painful. Loss in work time is costly for employers, as well. The "down time" needed to restore energy and recover from bouts of the syndrome is wasteful and unnecessary. The specific guidelines involve no adverse side effects or risky or unhealthy measures. You will need to be aware of substances which are antagonistic and then carefully select and eat a wide variety of appropriate foods. Significant relief for you and millions of others who have been waiting for answers. Be the champion of your own recovery.

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High-Fructose Corn Syrup Spoof

Spoofs inspired by "The Corn Refiners Association" propaganda commercials

Written by Jackie Beat
Starring Jackie Beat, Nadya Ginsburg, Selene Luna
Directed, Shot & Edited by Lawrence Elbert
Sound: Samantha Kuppig
Set Design: Krista Gall
Production Asst: Drew Mancilla

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Children of the Corn: Subsidies, Incentives and Health Reform

More awareness of the ills of consuming greater amounts of foods and drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup may create a backlash against the corn subsidies whose agribusiness roots run deep enough to stymie any meaningful reform.

In 1959, as the tensions of the Cold War seethed into their second decade, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev paid a visit to the United States. His stops included New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and, much to the head-scratching of the CIA, a little stop in between: Iowa (and yes, a 50th anniversary commemoration exists).

Russia had stolen the formula for the atomic bomb. She could send satellites into space. But the one area where we the capitalists had her beat wasn't in a secret smuggled around in briefcases handcuffed to wrists but in a practice as old as civilization itself: agriculture.

In Iowa, Khrushchev's eyes confirmed what his spy planes had probably already told him: corn fields sprawled unbroken in all directions like great sheets of Siberian snow. He believed that he could replicate the American agricultural model to break his reliance on an unsustainable and inconsistent supply of imported grain.

Back in the USSR, a perfect storm of inadequate resources, overstretched reforms, and sparse infrastructure left the inept Soviet premier's massive corn fields as withered as his plans to save the famine-plagued masses. Khrushchev had instead sown the seeds of his country's implosion.

Here in the United States, farming constitutes a large part of our national identity, and it is largely misunderstood. The ideal of the family farm has been foreclosed upon by great agribusinesses that replace the amber waves of grain we idealize with regimented row upon regimented row of subsidized corn.

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Sugar makes Dr Pepper special from Dublin, Texas

For Dr Pepper drinkers, this is Mecca.

Tens of thousands of people trek to tiny Dublin in north central Texas each year to buy cases of the nation's third most popular soft drink from a bottling company that uses real sugar in its flagship product. No high fructose corn syrup in sight.

It's been that way since 1891, when Dublin Bottling Works became the world's first bottler of soda pop and the first to distribute the fruit- and berry-flavored carbonated drink that had debuted six years earlier at Wade Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in downtown Waco, about 80 miles to the east.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

High-Fructose Diet Raises Blood Pressure in Middle-Aged Men

A diet high in foods with large amounts of fructose sugar such as sweetened soft drinks increased blood pressure in men, according to a study presented today that also found that a drug for gout blocked the effect.

Men in the study who ate a high-fructose diet had their blood pressure rise about 5 percent after two weeks, while those who also were given a gout treatment increased less than 1 percent, study author Richard Johnson said. Eating great amounts of fructose without the treatment also raised the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors associated with the development of heart disease and diabetes.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Finding the hidden high fructose corn syrup

Why are companies seemingly allowed to hide ingredients in sub-components of food? Or am I totally off base in my thinking.

In looking for a barbeque sauce without High Fructose Corn Syrup, we have noticed that most of the brands that do no list HFCS as an ingredient show "ketchup" as a main ingredient. What seems shaky about that is that most ketchup brands have HFCS as a component. We have noticed similar things with other foods - fish sauce is an example of something that is often listed but potentially has bad for you stuff like MSG in it.

So, the first part of my question is really about how is that legal (or right/ethical may be a better way to put it) to show something like ketchup as an ingredient but not actually list the ingredients of that sub-product? I understand that would be hard-ish to do although I cannot imagine it would be that hard. It just seems like an easy way to skirt having to list anything bad the package by just using a sub-component that contains the bad things. "Hey, eat this protein bar made up of honey and soylent green..."

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Movie Review: The Informant!

In theory there should be nothing entertaining about watching an FBI case unfold that deals with potential poisoning of the general American public, price-fixing on lysine and High Fructose Corn Syrup, and a compulsive liar.


Watching Mark Whitacre, an employee of Archer Daniels Midland, a heart-of-the-Midwest agricultural company, dig his own grave shouldn’t be funny—but oh, it is. Steven Soderbergh’s latest is a foray into white-color crime, price-fixing, and embezzlement.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald

In part one of a two-part interview, Booknotes host Brian Lamb talks with award-winning New York Times investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald about his new book, The Informant, A True Story. His book is about one of the FBI's biggest secrets: a senior executive with America's most politically powerful corporation, Archer Daniels Midland, had become a confidential government witness, secretly recording a vast criminal conspiracy spanning five continents. Mark Whitacre, the promising golden boy of ADM, had put his career and family at risk to wear a wire and deceive his friends and colleagues. Using Whitacre and a small team of agents to tap into the secrets at ADM, the FBI discovered the company's scheme to steal millions of dollars from its own customers. But, as the FBI and federal prosecutors closed in on ADM, using stakeouts, wiretaps, and secret recordings of illegal meetings around the world, they suddenly found that everything was not all that it appeared. At the same time Whitacre was cooperating with the Feds while playing the role of loyal company man, he had his own agenda he kept hidden from everyone around him - his wife, his lawyer, even the FBI agents who had come to trust him with the case they had put their careers on the line for. Kurt Eichenwald has written about white-collar crime and corporate corruption for the NYT for more than a decade.

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The Informant (Movie Tie-in Edition): A True Story (Random House Movie Tie-In Books) (Paperback)

"The FBI was ready to take down America's most politically powerful corporation. But there was one thing they didn't count on."

So reads the cover of this high-powered true crime story, an accurate teaser to a bizarre financial scandal with more plot twists than a John Grisham novel. In 1992 the FBI stumbled upon Mark Whitacre, a top executive at the Archer Daniels Midland corporation who was willing to act as a government witness to a vast international price-fixing conspiracy. ADM, which advertises itself as "The Supermarket to the World," processes grains and other farm staples into oils, flours, and fibers for products that fill America's shelves, from Jell-O pudding to StarKist tuna. The company's chairman and chief executive, Dwayne Andreas, was so influential that he introduced Ronald Reagan to Mikhail Gorbachev, and it was his maneuvering that ensured that high fructose corn syrup would replace sugar in most foods (ever wondered why Coke and Pepsi don't taste quite like they used to?). There were two mottoes at ADM: "The competitors are our friends, and the customers are our enemies" and "We know when we're lying." And lie they did. With the help of Whitacre, the FBI made hundreds of tapes and videos of ADM executives making price-fixing deals with their corrivals from Japan, Korea, and Canada, all while drinking coffee and laughing about their crimes. The tapes should have cinched the case, but there was one problem: Their star witness was manipulative, deceitful, and unstable. Nothing was as it seemed, and the investigation into one of the most astounding white-collar crime cases in history had only just begun.

Kurt Eichenwald, an investigative reporter, covered the story for The New York Times and interviewed more than 100 participants in the case. He methodically records the six-year investigation, leaving no plot twist or tape transcript unexplored. While his primary focus is on deconstructing the disturbed Whitacre and revealing the malleability of truth, the portrait of ADM (and even the Justice Department) is damning enough to make anyone a cynic. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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City Club Presents: Kurt Eichenwald

New York Times investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald reveals the shocking details of corporate corruption that led to the collapse of Enron as he reads from his new book "Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story" in this address to the City Club of San Diego.

Friday, September 11, 2009

'Informant!' - black comedy with no white hats

The two products involved in ADM's troubles were lysine and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The latter substance has been linked to the increase in obesity in the United States.

Matt Damon's new film character is a kind of undercover agent, but he's a far cry from Jason Bourne. In "The Informant!," the actor plays Mark Whitacre, a real-life corporate whistle-blower who worked with the FBI in the 1990s to uncover a price-fixing scandal involving his employer, agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland. Slapped with a mega-fine and a class action suit, ADM eventually paid out $500 million. Several executives went to prison.

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To Bee or Not to Bee

So it’s possible that this high-fructose corn syrup that’s, you know, partially responsible for the obesity epidemic in humans is also having a devastating effect on the bee population.

In part 2 of our bee podcast, we talk with May Berenbaum, entomologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and inspiration for the X Files fictional entomologist Bambi Berenbaum, about bees, other insects and how life history analysis can make us rest easy during scary sci-fi invasion movies. Plus, we’ll test your knowledge about some recent science in the news.

Podcast Transcription

Steve: Welcome to Science Talk, the weekly podcast of Scientific American posted on August 21st, 2009. I’m Steve Mirsky. This week more about bees and all manner of other insect with entomologist, May Berenbaum from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Now, last week I promised you that you’d also get a fellow named John Williams, the beekeeper at Darwin’s home in England; however I’m traveling, and I apparently neglected to bring along that audio file, but this problem is easily fixed because what was supposed to be a two-part podcast is now a three-part podcast. I plan to post the William’s chat on Tuesday the 25th of August, so look or listen for that. Meanwhile here’s more with May Berenbaum. Early in our conversation, she mentions Reed Johnson—you’ll recall from part 1 that Reed is her student working on genomes.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup, Again?

A while back (August 6, 09) I wrote some blogs about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Readers wrote in saying how HFCS is nutritionally very similar in composition to regular white sugar. What I want to clarify is that yes, this is true. But the problem is, white sugar is more obvious on a label to the consumer compared to HFCS. HFCS is more deceptive and hidden in places most people don’t even think to look and it has different names. Sure it’s obvious to find HFCS in a soda but I’ve seen it in juices, breads, cereals, energy bars, condiments, cough syrups, dairy foods (chocolate milk and yogurts), some dried fruits, some vegetable juices, salad dressings, soups and mixer drinks and of course generally processed foods.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Soft drinks with real sugar tough to find

A lot of people are looking for products that don't contain high-fructose corn syrup, and finding them difficult to locate. In response to Anna Carlton, who's looking for soft drinks with regular sugar, Dean B. Pomerantz and C. John Stark suggested she check Mexican markets. I've noticed that not all soft drinks sold in Mexican markets are made without the corn syrup, but Pomerantz recommended looking for small bottles of Coke and Pepsi in six-packs. "You can tell which ones they are because they have a nutrition/ingredient sticker on the bottles," Stark noted.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Scientists know that high fructose corn syrup makes it impossible for persons with diabetes to satisfactorily control their blood sugar. Diabetes leads to blindness, heart attacks, amputations, strokes and many other preventable problems, as well as early death.

What is high-fructose corn syrup? It is not the same thing as the natural, healthy fructose in honey and fruit. "High-fructose corn syrup" is a highly refined, artificial product. It is created through a complicated chemical process that transforms cornstarch into a thick, clear liquid. White sugar and "high-fructose corn syrup" are not the same. "High-fructose corn syrup" is worse than sugar.

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Public sours on Illinois' sweet spot

Another Illinois industry is under siege. Demand for high-fructose corn syrup, the cheap sugar substitute that sweetens most of the nation's soft drinks and many of its foods, has been dropping fast amid suspicions about its health effects.

The sweetener has taken a beating in the media, with everyone from Michelle Obama to the American Heart Assn. badmouthing it.

"You start reading the labels, and you realize there's high-fructose corn syrup in everything we're eating," the organic-minded first lady complained in a magazine interview earlier this year. "Every jelly, every juice."

Actually, not so much anymore. Responding to consumer pressure, Kraft Foods Inc., Pizza Hut, Starbucks Corp., PepsiCo Inc. and others have switched to sugar in some or all of their products in recent months

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Another Reason to Hate HFCS

According to the Washington Post, nearly half of the tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained measurable levels of mercury—mercury that makes its way into many popular name-brand foods and beverages, say a pair of U.S. studies, one published in the current issue of the journal Environmental Health, the other conducted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

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Five Reasons to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

Four words--high fructose corn syrup--describe an alarmingly ubiquitous sweetener that has the potential to make you into one chubby, sick puppy. You can find it in supermarket convenience food, canned goods, soda, juice and fast food. HFCS does nothing good for your body. But it's sweet and it grabs you in its sticky clutches. The intake of HFCS and table sugar, which also contains fructose, has risen to an average of 145 pounds a year per person. And not surprisingly, in part because of the obesity epidemic in the United States, HFCS has recently been the subject of much scientific research.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

What's wrong with high fructose corn syrup?

It's in everything. So what's in the syrup?

Dear Vanessa,

I’ve been told that I should avoid high-fructose corn syrup, and yesterday I read that there is mercury in the syrup. Why would mercury be in a food product, anyway? And what’s the problem with corn syrup in general?

— Feeling Corny in the Heartland

Dear Corny,

There are many issues about high-fructose corn syrup, all of them connected to corn-focused industrial agriculture, a practice that is destroying our health and our environment.

Let's start with corn. How did we transform a native grain that sustained myriad cultures for thousands of years into a symbol of everything that's wrong with our economy, agriculture and health? (This will be an exercise in restraint for me. I will do my best to ignore that high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, originates in a simple corn field and focus on the complex problems surrounding this sticky, adulterated version of corn-stuff.)

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Too Much Government Makes Us Sick

According to the Environmental Workers Group, corn subsidies in the United States totaled $56.2 billion from 1995-2006.

While Congress is busy working on health care reform, policy-makers are reluctant to admit that many of our nation’s health problems are linked to practices subsidized by taxpayers. An American diet heavily dependent on corn and corn-derivatives is linked to obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II-Diabetes, constipation, joint pain, and other ailments. The tragic irony is that government subsidizes the low-cost production of the corn-based, unhealthy foods that make many people sick. Now the Obama administration wants to give these same policy-makers responsibility for our health care.

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Monsanto’s Man in the FDA Hen House

In Jeffrey Smith’s July 23 HuffPo article, You’re Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It’s Not So!, he reports on the ramifications of the July 7 appointment of former Monsanto attorney, vice president and chief lobbyist, Michael R. Taylor, as “senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA.”
The FDA announcement described Taylor as “a nationally recognized food safety expert and research professor at George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services.”

Monday, August 31, 2009

Heat forms toxic substance in corn syrups

U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists say they've discovered heat forms a potentially harmful substance in high-fructose corn syrup often fed to honey bees.

The study led by Blaise LeBlanc and Gillian Eggleston of the USDA's Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson showed heat can produce a potentially toxic substance, hydroxymethylfurfural, which might kill honeybees and endanger human health.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Heat Forms Potentially Harmful Substance In High-fructose Corn Syrup, Bee Study Finds

If High-Fructose Corn Syrup Kills Honeybees, What Does It Do To You?

Researchers have established the conditions that foster formation of potentially dangerous levels of a toxic substance in the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that is often fed to honey bees. Their study, which appears in the current issue of ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, may also have implications for soft drinks and dozens of other human foods that contain HFCS. The substance, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), forms mainly from heating fructose.

In the new study, Blaise LeBlanc and Gillian Eggleston and colleagues note HFCS's ubiquitous usage as a sweetener in beverages and processed foods. Some commercial beekeepers also feed it to bees to increase reproduction and honey production. When exposed to warm temperatures, HFCS can form HMF and kill honeybees. Some researchers believe that HMF may be a factor in Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious disease that has killed at least one-third of the honeybee population in the United States.

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USDA Agricultural Research Service: Formation of Hydroxymethylfurfural in Domestic High Fructose Corn Syrup and Its Toxicity to the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marketers Answer Call to Eliminate High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Corn Refiners Fight Back as Kraft, Pepsi Tout Revamped Products. The Corn Refiners Association does an all-cable TV buy, focusing on female- and family-oriented networks, like Lifetime, Bravo, TLC and the Food Network.

First it was fat, then it was trans fat, and now it's corn syrup.

Consumers are asking manufacturers to remove ingredients they believe are harmful, and high-fructose corn syrup is near the top of many a mother's hit list. Some major manufacturers have responded by removing the offending syrup, and the Corn Refiners Association has staged a full-fledged media assault aimed at what it perceives to be "misinformation" in the media.

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Mercury In 1000s Of Foods Containing High Fructose Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup Association Fights Back

As more manufacturers retool products to eliminate high-fructose corn syrup, the Corn Refiners Associations takes to the airwaves in support of the sweet substance.

The Corn Refiners Association has launched a media attack to counter “misinformation” in the media about high-fructose corn syrup, Advertising Age reports. In the wake of Kraft Foods and PepsiCo reformulating some of their products to eliminate corn syrup, the association has purchased time on cable television in an effort to reach females and families with the news that high-fructose corn syrup is not the enemy.

In recent years, Kraft Foods has removed high-fructose corn syrup from Bulls-Eye barbecue sauce, Capri Sun Juice drinks with 25 percent less sugar, most of its Kraft Salad dressings and Wheat Thins crackers.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Obsessives: Soda Pop -

John Nese is the proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop in LA. His father ran it as a grocery store, and when the time came for John to take charge, he decided to convert it into the ultimate soda-lovers destination. About 500 pops line the shelves, sourced lovingly by John from around the world. John has made it his mission to keep small soda-makers afloat and help them find their consumers. Galcos also acts as a distributor for restaurants and bars along the West Coast, spreading the gospel of soda made with cane sugar (no high-fructose corn syrup if John can avoid it).

Top 10 Incredible Funguses

Aspergillus Niger

Incredible Because: It toppled the Italian lemon industry and is used in the production of high fructose corn syrup

Industrial-scale citric acid production began in 1890 based on the Italian citrus fruit industry. But a mere 27 years later (in 1917,) the American food chemist James Currie discovered that certain strains of the mold Aspergillus niger could be efficient citric acid producers, and Pfizer began industrial-level production using this technique two years later, followed by Citrique Belge in 1929. This caused the toppling of the Italian citrus industry. Aspergillus niger is also used in the production of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). In the United States, HFCS is typically used as a sugar substitute and is ubiquitous in processed foods and beverages, including soft drinks, yogurt, cookies, salad dressing and tomato soup.

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Good buy: Chef Hymie Grande's barbecue sauces

Chef Hymie Grande's barbecue sauces contain neither high-fructose corn syrup nor processed sugars and are vegan friendly.

They also are the first barbecue sauces to bear the American Diabetes Association seal, and a portion of the proceeds is donated to the ADA.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup an “Addiction?”

Working part time in a successful bariatric weight loss clinic as an Educator I was recently given the opportunity to read an interesting medical abstract by Dr. Robert Lustig, (The Bariatrician, 2009, Volume 24, No. 1, pg. 10). Dr. Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist and member of the Endocrine Society Obesity Task Force. He states that HFCS acts metabolically similar to that of ethanol, a central nervous system toxin derivative, after consuming alcohol.

Without even realizing it, (or maybe they know somehow?) the food manufacturers of HFCS have developed a quite “legal” addictive substance adding to our obesity epidemic. The fructose in HFCS apparently has a direct effect on the central nervous system in the hedonic (pleasure producing) pathway of the brain similar to alcohol. It impacts the central nervous system signaling addiction like cravings to the individual consuming HFCS. But instead of intoxication which you may normally experience from alcohol you have over consumption of a food or beverage that contains HFCS. Dr. Lustig states that HFCS should be regarded as “alcohol without the buzz.”

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