This article titled The buzz on corn syrup, appeared in a Cadillac, Michigan news site highlighting one woman’s experience of developing a food allergy of products containing corn syrup.  She now drives to a natural foods market to shop for food.

Also, lots of nicely organized Q&As and points for reference from Eric Wald, of the University of Michigan MFIT community health promotions department:

Advantages of high fructose corn syrup, according to the Corn Refiners Association, are:

– Cost. HFCS is cheaper than table sugar
– Pourability. The freezing point of HFCS is lower, so juice and beverage concentrates sold in the freezer case can be poured from their cans or containers and are easier to mix with water.
– Softness and browning. HFCS gives baked goods, cakes, cookies and granola bars a soft, moist texture and helps them brown nicely.
– Flavor enhancement. Taste buds detect the sweetness of HFCS earlier than table sugar, making the natural flavors of spices, citrus and fruit flavors stand out.
– Freshness and stability. HFCS extends shelf life, inhibits spoilage and helps maintain the flavor of sweetness of canned fruits, soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, ketchup and fruit preserves.

High-fructose corn syrup statistics:

– It became a food ingredient during the 1970s after the technology for making it was developed.
– Since the 1970s the amount of HFCS in foods and beverages has soared. The average American’s daily calorie intake from HFCS was 205 calories in 2003 – up from two calories in 1970, according to the USDA.
– The relatively low cost of HFCS enables food companies to supersize food portions – especially soft drinks – for little cost, increasing profits and perceived value for customers.
– Some research suggests HFCS may cause changes in metabolism that hinder appetite control, increase blood triglyceride levels or increase risk of diabetes and colorectal cancer. However, there isn’t enough evidence to draw conclusions at this point.

Link to Article: The buzz on corn syrup

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The annual ‘Liver Meeting’ of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases which took place October in Boston reported results linking high intake of sugar (specifically fructose) to liver disease.

“The research team concluded that consumption of high fructose can have negative effects on liver through overfeeding, as well as damage the liver by inducing increased oxidative stress.”

Link to AASLD press release: Liver Damage Caused by Refined Sugars

Link to Reuters news coverage: Sugar intake may hurt liver

In today’s NY Times Health section appeared an article When Bad Things Come From ‘Good’ Food.

While I’ve been focusing here most recently on processed foods that have taken over the supermarket with sweeteners and preservatives (high-fructose corn syrup, etc.) made of ‘number 2 field corn’ (often genetically modified) this article sounds another alarm that the citizens of this country need to step up, hear, and respond to.

The article in the Times today mentioned:

The government estimates that over all, food-borne microbes — not just the ones on produce — make 76 million people a year sick, put 325,000 in the hospital and kill 5,000.”

The Times author also commented that there has simply not been much public outrage or disgust at the state of our food supply, even though growers in California are beginning to feel a bit of pressure. How much is enough before people are disgusted and not just happy to wash their produce and hope they don’t get food poisoning? Are you satisfied with solitions such as chemical baths and radiation?

Link to article: When Bad Things Come From ‘Good’ Food

What’s your relationship to your food? Do you know where it comes from, and what processes your grower uses? Yes, most call themsleves ‘growers’ now in California, not ‘farmers’.

These are some of the ways to be more conscious about the source, quality, and safety of what you eat.

This article by one green farmer echos many who have returned to the direct sources of local farmers over the huge network of industrial producers.

Link to Article: Know your farmer, know your food

MSG has become so disliked that food is labeled NO-MSG.  But did you know that soy (thought originally by many vegetarians and vegans to be “healthy”), actually contains higher levels of glutamate than mono-sodium glutamate.

Further, food processors can call it soy protein instead of MSG.

This article rounds up a few foods from the grocery freezer to fill you in on all those salts that are in processed foods, including the ones in soy.

Link to Article: Northwest Arkansas News

This well done piece of investigative journalism about the international agri-business named ADM headquartered in the Midwest, by a resident of the Midwest follows the money, using the theme of a Church Lady skit she shows “How conveeeeeenient!”

“Looking at their contributions between 1990 and 2006,  they gave a total of $7,778,389, with 57% going to the Republicans, 43% going to the Democrats. However, unlike many big donors they gave much more ($1,970,060) in contributions in 2002 mid-term elections than they did in the presidential election year 2004 ($102,175). The reason? The 2002 farm bill. ADM knows what it is doing.”

“Unfortunately, we can’t afford $2mil in campaign contributions for each farm bill to turn things around. We just vote. We’re just citizens. What do we count? (Diebold, don’t answer that.)”

Link to : ePluribus Media – citizen journalism

The Maine Technologies Institute recently awarded a $248,710 grant to Gladstone’s Under the Sun (a socially responsible company and Maine based natural snack foods manufacturer) to test an alternative to high-fructose corn syrup.  Made from drying wild blueberries and cranberries, the sweetener would also reportedly increase self life.

Link to Website: Gladstone’s Under the Sun

Link to MTI Announcement: Maine Technologies Institute

This cute article hopefully lightens the atmosphere of all these other posts I’ve made to get the word out about high-fructose corn syrup.

Bella – the 5 year old who’s face appears on Bellas Cookies is running for office, and her cookie campaign is to get back our “cookie roots”.  It’s a campaign plan for all children to expect excellence from their cookies!

“NO trans fats, NO hydrogenated oils, NO artificial coloring or flavoring, NO preservatives, NO high fructose corn syrup and NO refined sugar”

Link to Article:  5 Year Old Announces Candidacy

This article discusses the differences in the American diet today versus early-1900s, and how our SAD diet not only is causing new health problems for Americans, but the new diet is spreading to other cultures who are just as unable to process these new high levels of sugar in everything being sold in supermarkets around the world.

“The average American consumes an astounding two to three pounds of sugar each week. Sugar consumption has gone from only five pounds per year in 1900 to the current level of 135 pounds per person per year, and Jamaicans are closely following this trend.”

Link to Article: Sugar, a sweet poison

Great article introducing Anna Lappe’s new book Grub.

“We’ve collectively been the guinea pigs for a totally radical experimental diet.  ….  It’s not hyperbole to say it’s killing people.”

“They used to call Type 2 diabetes ‘adult onset diabetes’ because kids didn’t get it.  Now the Centers for Disease Control predicts that as many as one in three children being born today will become diabetic.”

Link to Article: Food and the Body Politic

The Corn Refiners are holding their position that corn syrup is the same as sugar with all sorts of pretty benefits like brown bread and brown soft drinks.  Of course this brown stuff is what keeps them ‘in the black’.  But one politician recently called high-fructose corn syrup, the “crack of sweetners”.

Dr. Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill is quoted saying:

“We really should be studying it more. … They don’t like to study adverse effects.  If we thought HFCS had huge benefits, if it prevented cancer, then we’d be studying it.”

Link to Article:  Sweetner Lowdown

Off topic only slightly, this article over at News Target asks the question …

“What’s the point of recycling all this packaging if the products being purchased and consumed are toxic to the environment in the first place? … It’s okay to dump anything you want into the environment as long as you recycle the box it came in.”

Link to Article: The Recycling Contradiction

An absolutely stunning article with several sides of the high-fructose corn syrup and obesity connection.  Farmers are frustrated, consumers are frustrated (and uneducated), doctors are frustrated, yet the ADM and Monsanto’s of the world are still finding novel new ways to process our over-abundance of corn.

Link to Article: Value Added Agriculture…

Here’s an abstract from a study recently conducted at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

“Strieber notes that the ingestion of soft drinks and processed foods, which are mostly sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup rather than sugar itself, may be contributing to higher intakes of carbohydrates than most people know about, and leading to greater risks of Alzheimer’s.”

Link to Article:  Alzheimer’s Maybe Diet-Related

Stephen Fox has written a compelling Resolution to Create a New United Nations Undersecretary to Nutrition, responsible for protecting the health of all nations.

“One of the favorite euphemisms for MSG in the food industries is “hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.” The manufacturing process involves first boiling vegetables in sulfuric acid for several hours, then neutralizing the acid with a caustic soda (an alkalizing agent often used to make soap), and then drying the resultant brown sludge, which is then desiccated into a fine brown powder.

This is a beautiful charge that needs everyone’s support.

“The international transport of thousands of harmful compounds is almost completely ignored. Because they have been lied to about the effects of these harmful additives and processes, the World Trade Organization, Consumer Protection divisions at state and national levels, and almost all governments permit the international transport of these harmful substances.”

Link to Resolution:  red-ice.net

With a headline that reads like something from the National Enquirer, Drinking water … man shed pounds, this article is kinda funny in a way.  A man near Houston has lost significant weight by drinking water with his meals instead of whatever else he was drinking.  That’s not the shocking part.

Link to Article: Drinking water … man shed pounds

In this interview with Dr. Russell Blaylock, he discusses the devastating health effects of MSG, aspartame and other excitotoxins.

“Excitotoxins have been found to dramatically promote cancer growth and metastasis. In fact, one aspartame researcher noticed that, when cancer cells were exposed to aspartame, they became more mobile, and you see the same effect with MSG. It also causes a cancer cell to become more mobile, and that enhances metastasis, or spread. These MSG-exposed cancer cells developed all of these pseudopodians and started moving through tissues, which is one of the earlier observations from cancer.”

You may be surprised to know Donald Rumsfeld, was a key player in bringing aspertame to market (linked by Italian studies to all kinds of lymphomas and leukemia).  But the industry will not correct itself without public pressure.

“Donald Rumsfeld was the one who pushed a lot of this through, when he was in the chairmanship of the G.D. Searle company, NutraSweet. He got it approved through the regulatory process, but once it was approved, the government didn’t want to admit that they had made a mistake.”

Safe you say, you just drink soy milk?

The glutamate levels (in soy milk) are higher than a lot of what you’ll find in MSG products, yet the vegetarians are just eating it like it’s the healthiest thing in the world.”

Link to Article:  Newstarget

Frances Moore Lappé had a few things to say at Cornell recently about some accountability for the economic focus on the highest return to existing wealth.  But she’s not just talking about money, she’s talking about how there’s enough food to feed the world.  We’re just not doing it.

“Who asked for Fruit Loops?” Her answer: CEOs of food conglomerates who benefit economically from taking the good things like fiber out of food and putting in what humans do not need, such as high fructose corn syrup, trans fat and salt.

Link to Article: The Cornell Daily Sun

This Harvard Letter links high-fructose corn syrup (the leading ingredient in soft drinks) with obesity.

“Over the past 20 years or so, Americans have developed quite the sweet tooth, with an annual consumption of sweeteners at about 100 pounds per person. During these same years, many more Americans—particularly children—have become overweight and obese. Added sweeteners, such as high-fructose corn syrup, may be one of the major reasons.”

Link to Article: Newswise

High-fructose corn syrup isn’t the first glimpse of trouble in farm land.  Food editor Ruth Reichl layed a few highlights out for the press.

“Secondly, there’s the 2007 Farm Bill, which “may be the single most important piece of legislation impacting our lives,” since “it subsidizes the wrong kind of food,” such as corn, which is used to produce high-fructose corn syrup, a common sweetener, and milk loaded with hormones and antibiotics.”

Link to Article: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This piece in the NY Times was written by an editor coming back from summer vacation in the land of farmer’s markets and returning to the urban supermarket.  Trying to stay on task for the nutrition among all the processed supermarket food:

“Many, many products, including surprising ones like Thomas’ English Muffins, didn’t even make it into my cart because high-fructose corn syrup, vegetable shortening or both were listed high on the ingredients lists.”

I was surprised too when I discovered that I could no longer feel comfortable buying Thomas’ English Muffins.

Link to Article: In Search of Grocery Gems

The 7Up campaign is raising lots of red flags thankfully.

Here’s another blogger who is entraged at the corporate lies that are so obvious to educated Americans.

“While I may not be a scientist or a dietician, I’ve read my share of health and diet books. One of my favorites, You: The Owner’s Manual points out that HFCS “inhibits leptin [the chemical that tells your body you’re full] secretion” while simultaneously “not shutting off ghrelin [the chemical that makes you hungry].” (194)

This is a great article bridging some gaps in the thinking about why Americans are just so much more un-healthy than the rest of the world by middle age.

“Isn’t it possible that the higher rates of diabetes and heart disease are caused by an excessive use of sugar, or HFCS?”

“It’s all very well for governments to encourage megalithic food processors and the agri-business to grow, create and promote foods that are better for our health. But until they impose restrictions upon them, or punish them for foods whose nutritional value is not as high as it could be, nothing will change. With the industrial food complex as rich and powerful as it is, what government is likely to do that?”

Link to Article: United Press International

MSG seems like something that went out of style in the 80s.  Chinese food syndrome as it was first described.  In NYC, a place with nearly more Chinese restaurants than China itself, most restaurants have stopped using MSG and have NO MSG written on signs and on menus.

Yet I picked up a box of Triscuits the other day in the grocery store and contemplated how they got that rosemary flavor in the crackers naturally.  BIG LETTERS on the front of the box said NATURAL FLAVORING.  Boy was I surprised to see “Monosodium Glutamate (Flavor Enhancer)” in the list of ingredients.

Note the box editor: “Flavor Enhancer” and “Natural Flavor” do not belong on the same product!  My initial research tells me our government has this same conflicting policy and the FDA (responsible for managing all processed foods) doesn’t even have a policy on what is considered Natural.

They might as well start writing.  “This stuff is good for you!”

It’s kind of like rebates… the manufacturers don’t just lower the price, instead they take a chance that you might not send it in and they might not have to pay that rebate.

The food manufacturers in this country are counting on that many of us don’t know how (or won’t) read the fine print ingredients, and don’t understand the many names of sugar and call them on their lies.  We’re lucky they are still required to print ingredients at all.

Pay attention!  You have the ability to make more intelligent choices!