Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sweet and green: Many sweeteners extract a high environmental price

Manufacturing high fructose corn syrup requires energy and uses chemicals. Some high fructose corn syrup used in U.S. products may be manufactured overseas with fewer safeguards.

How do you define green? Every act by humankind has an impact on the Earth, including every plot cultivated in the 10,000-year history of agriculture. However, in the years after World War II, chemical fertilizers, made from nonrenewable petroleum and pesticides came into wide use to cultivate single crops on the same land -- monoculture. It's a farming practice that depletes soil nutrients and leaves chemical residue in the field, which spreads to watersheds through agricultural runoff. Some crops require intensive irrigation, depleting water resources. Insect, bird and animal habitats are destroyed.

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Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Safe?

There is much confusion over this ubiquitous substance. When I read the studies that concluded mercury was found in HFCS, I set about purging it from our house. It was everywhere. It was in my son's chocolate milk, catsup, bread, burger and hot dog buns, Gatorade and is even a prominent ingredient in Yoplait yogurt. I expected to find it in candy, but yogurt? It is everywhere.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

We Are the Suckers of Capitalism

We "Americans" are gullible. In general, as a population we want to believe the best of people. I am one of those naive people. I think Americans as a whole largely want to believe in our government. We believe that institutions like the Food and Drug Administration are here to protect us. No matter how much data or how much information is put in front of you, sometimes it is hard to accept the truth. I mean-really let it sink in, that we are on our own.

There are people in our society who have clearly said there is something wrong with our food supply. Read a Michael Pollan book to educate yourself. After gathering a little knowledge you might not walk into a supermarket again. As a society, sometimes we are not able to capable of holding the truth. We like to hang out at the water cooler drinking the liquid of denial. We are so comfortable and cozy in our make-believe world. We hope things are as we wish them to be.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Evade it and Survive it

The Double Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup

For many years, Dr. Meira Fields and her coworkers at the US Department of Agriculture investigated the harmful effects of dietary sugar on rats. They discovered that when male rats are fed a diet deficient in copper, with sucrose as the carbohydrate, they develop severe pathologies of vital organs. Liver, heart and testes exhibit extreme swelling, while the pancreas atrophies, invariably leading to death of the rats before maturity.

Sucrose is a disaccharide composed of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. Dr. Fields repeated her experiments to determine whether it was the glucose or fructose moiety that caused the harmful effects. Starch breaks down into glucose when digested. On a copper-deficient diet, the male rats showed some signs of copper deficiency, but not the gross abnormalities of vital organs that occur in rats on the sucrose diet. When the rats were fed fructose, the fatal organ abnormalities occured.

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Healthbeat: Undressing the labels companies put on foods

It is believed that our bodies do not break down high fructose corn syrup as it does sugar, possibly leading to an increase in health problems.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store and stood in front of the salad dressings trying to figure out if you should choose fat free or light? Then in front of the bread, you have to decide if you would like whole grain or whole wheat.

You want to eat well, but they all sound healthy. Light must mean that if I eat it I will be lighter, and whole grain and whole wheat have to be the same because they sound like each other, right. And, what is high fructose corn syrup and why do I keep seeing it everywhere?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, there are guidelines that companies must follow in order to be able to use the words "fat free," "low-fat," "low-calorie," and "light." Is one better than the other?

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

EcoFriendly Energy Bars - Best and Worst

Green products abound, including eco-friendly energy bars. Sierra Club staffers recently blind-tasted 28 green bars to identify the Top 5 -- as well as bottom-of-the-barrel brands to avoid. No sense in forking over a couple greenbacks for an eco-bar that tastes like kitty litter.

This is a taste review only. You're on your nutritional own to find out fat, protein, carbs, fiber and which bars rely on that sinful sugar source -- high fructose corn syrup. Here are the The Top 5:

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Geeky Science Rocks! "Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Killing Us?"

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Sticky Truth About High-Fructose Corn Syrup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Americans ingest about fifty-two pounds of HFCS per year. Some claim that it appears in up to 80 percent of the foods we eat.

It’s everywhere! It’s everywhere! Pick up any box or bottle at the supermarket, and chances are, you’ll be looking at a product that contains high-fructose corn syrup. It’s been stealthily sneaking into our food since the 1970s, replacing real sugar as the sweetener of choice. As rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease in America have skyrocketed, many consumers and medical professionals have begun to wonder if the HFCS we’re consuming every day is playing a part in our national health crisis. Some dieticians and health practitioners decry the sweet syrup as poison, although corn growers claim that it’s just as safe as regular sugar. Since we consume it in everything from soda to sandwiches, it’s worth knowing the truth about this abundant sweetener.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup

An effective way to eliminate HFSC is to look for "Organic" labeling when purchasing processed foods.

High-fructose diets impair memory

Adopting a diet rich in fructose, a form of sugar commonly found in processed foods and beverages, may result in impaired spatial memory.

Previous studies had reported various health problems such as insulin insensitivity, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease following the use fructose, the sweetener commonly found in table sugar, fruit juice concentrates and high fructose corn syrup.

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Lakefront Brewery’s Golden Maple Root Beer: It’s Like Pancakes and Syrup in a Bottle

I’m not much of a root beer drinker. However, while traveling through the south end of Milwaukee, I happened to notice and pick up a plastic bottle of Lakefront Brewery’s Golden Maple Root Beer from the refrigerated cooler of a local cider mill. Immediately, I was intrigued: one of my favorite breweries had decided to make a root beer, and not only that, but had decided to add in maple syrup!

Lakefront Brewery’s root beer had the light amber hue of honey instead of the dark brown color that is traditionally asserted in root beers. I looked over the ingredients of the beer (yes, even though it’s non-alcoholic, I’m calling Golden Maple a beer): carbonated water, pure cane sugar, pure Wisconsin maple syrup, caramel color, natural root beer flavor, gum acacia, preservatives- sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate. I was relieved; Sprecher, my other favorite Milwaukee brewery, makes root beer but adds in high fructose corn syrup. With Lakefront, there wasn’t a high fructose corn syrup molecule in sight. However, the intense golden color of the beer did make me a bit antsy.

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Beware of Corn Syrup

Health plays such a vital role in our lives. It?s the one thing that we can?t trade in when a body part isn?t functioning or fix when the body shuts down, in most cases. One of the major factors in keeping our body in optimum health is eating the right foods. One of the greatest hazards to our health is the consumption of foods containing refined sugars such as corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a variety made from cornstarch using enzymes.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

The truth about 100 calorie packs

100-calorie packs were introduced in 2006 and took the dieting world by storm. These tiny packs of delectable foods which include cookies, chips, crackers, muffins, doughnuts, and even candy gives dieters a way to indulge in their favorite snacks while still controlling portion sizes. But, are these little snacks really good for you to be eating, even in small portions?

First off, by taking a look at the nutrition facts it is apparent that many of these 100-calorie packs contain high fructose corn syrup. This ingredient is one that makes once healthy foods unhealthy.

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Obesity growing issue, especially among children

One factor cannot be denied — high fructose corn syrup is a major component of the American diet and is unquestionably a contributing factor to the rise of obesity.

Theories and hypotheses abound as to why obesity has become epidemic in the United States. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and as many as 30 percent of our children are overweight. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 25 years and is a statistic that is truly alarming and needs to be addressed immediately.

Pollution in our environment, toxicity of food supply, profusion of personal computers, the increase of super-sized portions, couch potato positions and troubled economical times certainly play a part in the super-sized waistline expansion. But if one delves beyond the obvious, a common denominator factor is quite clear. Saving pennies is a goal of families and businesses. If we could only look into the hourglass of time, we would realize the "price" for our frugality might be quite costly.

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Mercury Contamination Found in High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) accounts for the largest amount of calories in the average American diet. It can be found in processed foods of almost every kind - soda, bread, breakfast bars, processed dairy, crackers, soup, condiments, and others. The U.S. first began using HFCS heavily in the 1970's as an inexpensive alternative to sugar when sugar prices skyrocketed. It quickly became the most commonly used sweetener and today is found in almost all processed foods. Americans consume about twelve teaspoons of HFCS on average per day.

Recently HFCS has come under scrutiny because of its possible link to health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, increased triglycerides, increased LDL cholesterol, and liver disease. Fructose is hard for the body to metabolize, converts to fat more than other sugars, and contains no enzymes, vitamins, or minerals. In fact, fructose actually uses vital compounds from the body to be metabolized so it is actually robbing the body of its necessary micronutrients.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Battle Royale: High fructose corn syrup versus sugar

Which is better? High fructose corn syrup or sugar – or are they “compositionally equivalent”?

The advertisements lauding the quality of high fructose corn syrup do appear to be a bit biased, as if somehow the Corn Refiners Association (who funds these ads) might have something to gain. They invoke a cautious curiosity as political ad campaigns do – one might expect a stalk to appear at the end and declare, “I am a corn cob, and I approved this message.” The goofy, Kerri Kenney look-a-like in the commercial above resonates with the fool in all of us. “How could I have been so stupid?” We all strive to be the enlightened, juice-pouring power Mom who scoffs in the face of whiny syrup haters. Who wouldn’t want to be more like her?

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Taste test: Pillsbury Simply Refrigerated Cookies

The scoop: Refrigerated preshaped and ready-to-bake cookies available in chocolate chip or peanut butter. The cookies come in no-frills packaging and are made with only the basic, standard ingredients. The highlight: They contain no high-fructose corn syrup or trans fats.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

'Food, Inc.' Will Freak You Out, Offer No New Ideas

Anyone familiar with Michael Pollan's books or the bare bones structure of our food and agricultural system will not be all that surprised by what the documentary "Food, Inc." has to say about the revolting, hyper-speed processes of the American nutritional system (or perhaps it should be called the "anti-nutritional system").

If you really don't know what I'm talking about, then you should probably go see this movie and realize that almost everything you put in your mouth is probably bad for you, the environment, and whoever grew or raised that food item.

The thesis of "Food, Inc." is straight-forward: A handful of corporations now control the vast majority of our foodmaking capabilities. They mistreat workers, abuse animals, stuff food full of high-fructose corn syrup, cover it in dangerous pesticides, and ship it needlessly thousands of miles using untold amounts of fossil fuel -- all so it can accumulate on your already too-fat ass, give you diabetes, heart disease and cancer, while sending the nation's medical bills skyrocketing.

Read the Entire Article at

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Goodbye, fructose

Fructose is concentrated, of course, in high-fructose corn syrup, comprising anywhere from 42-90% of total weight.

A carefully-conducted study by a collaborative research group at University of California-Berkeley has finally closed the lid on the fuss over fructose vs. glucose and its purported adverse effects.

Read the Entire Article at The Heart Scan Blog

Saturday, July 11, 2009

10 food ingredients to avoid to feel better and look better

Want to look better and feel better? What if you could avoid just 10 food ingredients and make a huge improvement in your health.

Paula Owens the author of “The Power of 4” says avoiding these 10 things will change your body dramatically. Owens has a master’s degree in holistic nutrition and a bachelors degree in kinesiology.

She explains what ingredients to avoid and how your body will benefit if you avoid them.

1. HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP: HFCS is the number one source of calories for most Americans and causes obesity.

You’ll find high-fructose corn syrup in processed food, fast food, sodas, syrup that goes into your Latte, etc.

HFCS is extremely toxic to your liver, increases inflammation, causes obesity, oxidative stress and creates an aggressive insulin response.

Read the Entire Article at

Organic vs. natural a source of confusion in food labeling

"To us, it means it's produced without added hormones, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup,"

At first it may seem only right for Dean Foods, the nation's largest organic dairy producer, to roll out a line of yogurts and milk marketed as "natural."

But Dean's announcement last week alarmed advocates of organic food, who say the burgeoning market for less expensive "natural" foods reaps billions from consumers while guaranteeing little or nothing in exchange.

Certified organic food products are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and produced by farmers and manufacturers under a strict set of rules. But the agency defines the term "natural" only for meat and poultry. In the rest of the food industry, the meaning is largely up to the producer.

Read the Entire Article at

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sugar pushes high fructose corn syrup off some food product labels

Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are still tussling over their spot on ingredient lists of food products. In some cases sugar is replacing corn syrup.

The bright red label on a bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail boasts that it contains no high fructose corn syrup. Its sweet replacement: sugar.

Other juice makers also have replaced the sweetener with cane or beet sugar, as have such big-name products as Log Cabin syrup, some Kraft Foods dressings and certain Pepsi products. Starbucks has undertaken a switch from high fructose corn syrup to sugar in its bakery goods.

The turnabout is another step in the ongoing demonization of high fructose corn syrup, a potent symbol of processed food's many evils. Since use of the sweetener exploded in the 1980s, it has been derided as unnatural and lacking any meaningful nutritional value, often mentioned in the same breath as such food villains as trans fats and artificial dyes.

Read the Entire Article at The Seattle Times

Questions of Temperance and Justice

Corn starch, corn oil and corn syrup make up key ingredients in many prepared foods. High fructose corn syrup sweetens everything from juice to frozen yogurt to toothpaste. Corn can be found in our ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, hotdogs, salad dressings , vitamin pills. Corn, of course, has been heavily subsidized by our government.

“Tell me what you eat,” the French gastronomist Anthelme Brillat-Savarin famously quipped, “and I will tell you what you are.” By that standard, Americans might be said to be as corny as Kansas! Corn represents the central staple of American agribusiness. American cattle fatten on corn (although farmers may have to force feed them compensating antibiotics to do so. Cows’ stomachs were made for grass, not corn). We turn to corn to feed our sheep, poultry and pigs. Corn is now even being fed to fatten farmed fish.

Read the Entire Article at

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sweet HFCS-free Summer Treat

Who does not love a frozen, sweet treat to cool you down on a hot summer day? But, do you know what makes that treat sweet? Odds are it is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

According to Wikipedia: High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - called isoglucose in Europe and glucose-fructose in Canada - comprises any group of corn syrups that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert its glucose into fructose and has then been mixed with pure corn syrup (100% glucose) to produce a desired sweetness.

So what is big deal with this stuff? Does it cause obesity? Maybe. Diabetes? Again, maybe. Are we consuming way more of it then we realize? Most likely. Do my hot dogs really need HFCS? Absolutely not. And neither do my summer treats.

Read the Entire Article at The Green Phone Booth

What are the 7 sins of greenwashing? And why should you care?

Sin of vagueness. An example of this would be a product claiming to be “all natural.” Plenty of stuff occurs in nature and isn’t very good for you (snake venom, arsenic, etc.). Recent commercials about the benefits of high fructose corn syrup are a good example of this.

The definition of greenwashing is “the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.” ( Basically, it’s making a product, service, or company seem more “green” than it is in order to get you to spend your money. The number of products claiming to be “green” has increased 79% since 2006, and the rate of green advertising has tripled in the last two years.

Read the Entire Article at