Monday, February 21, 2011

How High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Is Made

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is, as the name implies, corn syrup whose glucose has been partially changed into a different sugar, fructose. To make HFCS, you start with corn, then mill it to produce starch -corn starch. Starch, the most important carbohydrate in the human diet, consists of long chains of glucose. To make corn syrup, you mix the corn starch with water and then add an enzyme, produced by a bacterium, that breaks the starch down into shorter chains of glucose. Then you add another enzyme, produced by a fungus, that breaks the short chains down into glucose molecules. At that point, you have regular corn syrup.

To make the corn syrup into high fructose corn syrup, you turn some of its glucose molecules into fructose molecules by exposing the syrup to yet another enzyme, again produced by bacteria. This enzyme converts the glucose to a mixture of about 42 percent fructose and 53 percent glucose, with some other sugars as well. This syrup, called HFCS 42, is about as sweet as natural sugar (sucrose) and is used in foods and bakery items. HFCS 55, which contains approximately 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose, is sweeter than sucrose and is used mostly in soft drinks

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fructose Inhibits Brain Response

Fructose and Glucose Elicit Opposite Responses in the Human Brain.

I’ve had an ongoing disagreement with the National Corn Growers Association for years as to whether high fructose corn syrup reacts differently in the human brain and body than glucose. They’ve written letters to the editor of papers I write for and sent me e-mails trying to convince me, and readers of my columns, that my anecdotal information and scientific sources are incorrect.

Recently, Oregon Health Services University ( published a paper stating, “This study provides evidence in humans that fructose and glucose elicit opposite responses in the brain. It supports the animal research that shows similar findings and links fructose with obesity.”” Jonathan Purnell, M.D.

The report went on to say that fructose inhibits brain activity and many experts agree the increase in fructose and high fructose sweeteners in the American diet “directly correlates to the nation’s growing obesity epidemic.”

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Demand for corn outstrips supply

U.S. corn reserves are at a 15-year low, fueling fears of rising prices in the supermarket.

Chad E. Hart, an assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University and a grain market specialist, thinks consumers will notice an increase in prices -- notably at the meat counter -- within six to nine months.

Corn is used to feed cattle, hogs and chickens. Subsequently, he adds, livestock producers will be negatively impacted because of the higher feed costs. As the livestock inputs increase, they're passed on to the consumer.

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The difference between fructose and glucose: it's not all in your mind

Many food activists and public health researchers are ready to pin a substantial portion of blame for the nation's obesity epidemic on the skyrocketing consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, widely used to sweeten processed foods and beverages in the U.S. since the 1980s. But food and beverage makers are fighting back.

Glucose and fructose are both simple sugars--and equal parts of each is the recipe for table sugar. (High-fructose corn syrup is a bit more intensely sweet because it's made up of 55% fructose.) But scientists have long suspected there are differences in the way the human body processes these two forms of carbohydrate. But much of that research has been conducted on animals, leading many to question whether the human body makes any distinction between glucose and fructose.

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Consumer Group to FDA: Don't Hide High Fructose Corn Syrup Behind Misleading 'Corn Sugar' Name

The nation's oldest consumer group told the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today that allowing a name change of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) to "Corn Sugar" would be misleading to consumers and possibly expose the agency to future dilemma, depending on how scientific research and public perception may continue to evolve.

"Regardless of where you stand on the debate over High Fructose Corn Syrup and its effects on our waistlines and our health, changing the name after decades of use is unfair to consumers," said Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League. "Consumers are familiar with HFCS, they know how to find it on Nutrition Facts labels, and they deserve consistency so they can continue to make purchasing decisions."

The National Consumers League (NCL), a Washington, DC-based nonprofit watchdog group, filed formal comments with the FDA urging the agency to reject a petition by the Corn Refiners Association requesting that the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup, a sweetener commonly found in soft drinks and processed foods, be changed to "Corn Sugar."

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Perils/Joys of Being Allergic to High Fructose Corn Syrup

Back in early November, I had picked up some Toaster Strudels at the grocery store. I thought that they would be great to eat and I hadn’t had any in a while. The morning after I picked up two boxes of two different varieties, I put one in my toaster, put frosting on it, ate it and headed off to a lecture at the Newberry Library.

I then spent half of that lecture in the bathroom, feeling absolutely miserable. I headed back to my apartment, cancelled my tickets for the play I was supposed to see that afternoon, and stayed home, assuming it was the pizza I ate at a (non-alcoholic) party at DePaul. The next day, I had another Toaster Strudel (the wildberry, I think) and had the same reaction, meaning I missed one of my lectures and only went to my second lecture of that day.

I then had an appointment with my wonderful internist to check-up on my condition after I had been sick for a month. I told her about what had happened and she looked up the ingredients online.

“Do you normally not do well with high fructose corn syrup?” she asked.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Sugar Replacing High Fructose Corn Syrup in Sodas

Soft drink makers are turning to natural and low-cal sweeteners.

Sugar’s popularity with soda makers is soaring as the companies are scrambling to find alternatives to high fructose corn syrup, Supermarket News reports. For example, PepsiCo’s Sierra Mist Natural uses sugar, while the sweetener is mixed with stevia extract in Coca-Cola’s Sprite Green, a low-calorie version of Sprite. Other sugared carbonated sodas include Pepsi Throwback, Mexican Coke, Mountain Dew Throwback and kosher Coke.

Once upon a time, most soft drinks were sweetened with sugar. Three decades ago, high fructose corn syrup rose in prominence as sugar tariffs and quotas upped the price of imported sugar. High fructose corn syrup retains its spot as the most commonly added sweetener in processed beverages and food because of the ease in blending and its low cost, said Audrae Ericson, president of the Corn Refiners Association.

However, a growing number of consumers don’t want to consumer high fructose corn syrup, said Harry Balzer, vice president of the NPD Group. A Mintel poll found that nearly six in 10 consumers (59 percent) think that high fructose corn syrup is bad for health and that real sugar should sweeten soft drinks.

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Archer Daniels Midland: Corn Sweetener Prices To Jump 25%; Strong Mexico Demand

Archer Daniel Midland Co. (ADM) has finalized contracts for corn sweetener shipments in 2011, and will see prices jump 25%, Chief Financial Officer Ray Young said.

That increase will be sufficient to raise margins for its corn sweetener operations, despite the rising cost of corn, Young said in a conference call. Corn, along with other agricultural commodities, have soared in recent months and are at their highest level since reaching record highs in 2008.

The contracts represent 50% to 60% of its corn sweetener shipments, the company said.

Despite a well-publicized backlash among some consumers against high fructose corn syrup in the United States, demand has remained strong in Mexico. Young said corn sweetener shipments of 1.5 million metric tons were up 90% in 2010, and will remain strong.

In some cases, Mexico is importing high fructose corn syrup and shipping higher-priced sugar back to the United States.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tasteless Factory Farmed GMO Bt Corn-fed Beef Causes Taco Bell to Put More than 150 Chemical-based Ingredients into a Common Taco to Make it Taste Bet

In some, instances, particularly sugar, the amounts double because the sugar in high fructose corn syrup is not added to the amount of sugar on the label.

What’s more? Taco Bell now boasts of putting all of these chemical-based ingredients into your food to sell it. A California woman filed a lawsuit claiming that Taco Bell’s beef products contain very little meat. The class-action suit objects to Taco Bell calling its products “seasoned ground beef or seasoned beef, when in fact a substantial amount of the filling contains substances other than beef.”

According to attorney W. Daniel Miles III, just 35% of the Taco Bell taco filling was a solid, and just 15% overall was protein. Taco Bell officials rejected the claims that the meat in their tacos, burritos and other products is not all beef.

Taco Bell President Greg Creed said, “At Taco Bell, we buy our beef from the same trusted brands you find in the supermarket. We start with 100% USDA-inspected beef. Then we simmer it in our proprietary blend of seasonings and spices to give our seasoned beef its signature Taco Bell taste and texture.”

Okay. If that means Taco Bell uses the same USDA meat found in markets, then Taco Bell uses the same steroid-pumped, factory farmed beef, caged in at least ankle-deep urine-soaked manure that requires the insertion of ammonia to stop the E. coli bacteria that most, if not all, of the other fast food chains use.

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