High-fructose corn syrup

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by Wendy Gabriel

My youngest daughter recently turned three years old. This is the first birthday we are celebrating in our new home so it’s was our first party without Grandma, Grandpa, cousins, aunties and uncles. I wanted it to be amazing. As we were planning the party, and making it as green as possible, I found drinks to be the most challenging. Since I wasn’t having the party at my home, I didn’t have filtered tap water. Wine and beer wasn’t an option (for adults) due to the venue. I wasn’t going to tote all of my glass pitchers to the play place. I wasn’t going to buy bottled water and I refuse to buy soda. I care too much about the health of my family and friends to ply them with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Read more about HFCS at High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Yes, It IS That Bad! and Sugar May Be Bad But This Sweetener Is Far More Deadly by Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Off to the store. I found some yummy organic juice in pouches for the kids. Now for the adults. I grabbed a few bottled organic grape juices and organic cranberry-blueberry juices. Then called my husband to whine about to discuss the choices I had to work with…

His advice was to try to get outside myself and think about what our guests would like to drink. Good advice but, again, I’m not going to buy soda for anyone. I’m sure many of you are reading this and rolling your eyes. Here’s a little peek into my thought process: how was the product produced, how is it packaged, what kind of waste will be left, how healthy is it, will anyone drink it and so on. Finally I saw a huge bottle of Lipton Green Tea with citrus. It wasn’t organic and I wasn’t thrilled it was packaged in plastic not glass but it had an official looking seal saying it contained natural antioxidants. Hmmm. I was in a hurry and completely frustrated so I made a rookie mistake. I didn’t read the ingredients on the label. I was dazzled by the perceived health and drinkability of it.

When I got home and remembered to read the label, here’s what I purchased (ingredients from label):

Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Sodium Hesametaphosphate, Green Tea, Ascorbic Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Potassium Cinnamate, Honey, Calcium Disodium, EDTA, Caramel Color, Yellow 5, Blue 1.

Sugar content is 21 grams per serving!

And to really irritate me, here’s the big print on the label:

Lipton Iced Tea with naturally protective flavonoid antioxidants is a better choice when you want great tasting refreshment. And our recyclable 1 gallon bottle has a flex handle design to deliver a smooth pouring experience.

“Here my special guests… I couldn’t bring myself to pick up a few bottles of soda, so I got you something just as bad for you… Thanks for coming”.

Lesson learned.

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by Wendy Gabriel

The Christopher Gabriel Program is giving away a fabulous gift every week day from December 1st toCGProgram tote December 24th. THE GREEN SNACK GIVEAWAY IS TODAY (12/09/2009)! Donated by My Green Side, the prize is a fabulous The Christopher Gabriel Program canvas tote filled with some of my favorite organic snacks (when I’m not making my own or munching on fresh fruits or vegtables). LISTEN TO WIN FROM 9AM TO NOON CT!

GREEN TIP: When you reach for your next snack, avoid anything made with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Yes, It IS That Bad!

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.”  

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.”

From Prevention.com:  Sugar can make your skin dull and wrinkled.

From the Washington Post: Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury.

Ready to read your labels now?

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Natural Papa
Natural Papa focuses on natural parenting and fatherhood, home remedies for common children’s ailments, homeschooling, green and simple living for families, and natural foods. They are a valuable reference for parents and parents to be.

One of my favorite pieces from Derek Markham, founder of Natural Papa: Providing for Your Family isn’t about Presents, it’s about Presence

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

 

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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.

Let’s educate ourselves on the things the big food companies try to pass off as good for us.  Read labels.  Buy local.  Buy organic. 

With our dollars we can make a difference!  It’s important for us, vitally important for our children and crucial for the next generations.

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