By Wendy Gabriel
GREEN TIP: Be a smart consumer. Read labels. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup like the plague.
The other evening after the kids were finally in bed and my husband was doing some work in his office I began to reread, for the third time, The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, ND. Great book but not for the faint of heart. I put down my book to watch a little TV. Something that didn’t include dancing dinosaurs, puppets or running with balls of any size.
I turned to BRAVO. Maybe there was a rerun of Project Runway! But to my horror, I sat in stunned silence as I watched a commercial that completely blew me away. And not in a good way. The opening scene was two moms with a child’s birthday party in the background. Mom #1 was going to pour some juice containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for the little ones. Mom #2 objected. Mom #1 asked why. Mom #2 didn’t know why HFCS would be bad for the children. Mom #1 went on to condescend to Mom #2 and extol the virtues of HFCS “in moderation.”
The commercial was funded by the Corn Refiners Association and their website is unbelievable… literally. Now I’m aware most commercials are full of half-truths and are just trying to make you buy their stuff. But this goes above and beyond.
We have a national problem with obesity and sugar (HFCS being the worst) and processed foods are some major factors in that problem.
In his book, ChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine, John La Puma, MD explains that HFCS are “the Jeffrey Dahmer of sugars.” He goes on to say “some scientists think that the body processes HFCS differently than it does regular corn syrup and that it decreases our metabolism by tampering with our metabolic hormones. It also forces the liver to kick more fat out into the bloodstream, raising your triglyceride level.” That doesn’t sound like something that should happen ever. Not even in moderation.
As Sally Fallon explains in her book Nourishing Traditions, fructose is the primary sugar in HFCS and that “research indicates that it is the fructose, not the glucose, moiety of sugar that is the most harmful, especially for growing children. Yet the greatest increase in sugar consumption during the last two decades is from HFCS used in soft drinks, ketchup and many other fabricated foods aimed at children.”
Ms. Fallon’s well researched findings show that “studies have positively correlated sugar consumption with heart disease.” It is implicated as a “causative factor in kidney disease, liver disease, shortened life span, increased desire for coffee and tobacco, atherosclerosis… it is associated with hyperactivity, behavior problems, lack of concentration and violent tendencies.” And the bad play list goes on. “Last but not least, sugar consumption is the cause of bone loss and dental decay.”
I’m thinking it’s not OK to give my child an occassional dose of high-fructose corn syrup.
With our dollars we can make a difference! It’s important for us, vitally important for our children and crucial for the next generations.