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April 11, 2007

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I thought it was just me. Honestly...I thought 'I' was the only person that didn't know. I figured that I had been asleep that day in Health Class...like any day in Health Class.


I'm talking about High Fructose Corn Syrup. I didn't really understand what it was or did until I was well into my career as a full time fat ass. I just assumed that I was the only one that didn't know about it. But my most recent trip to Michigan proved that I was wrong and that lots of other folks still don't know about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

HFCS is a sweetener that was created back in the 1950s and made popular in the mid 1970s. It was quickly adopted by manufacturers of processed foods and soda pop as a substitute for cane sugar. It is cheap to create and it tastes great. As time has gone by, more and more foods are found to contain this insidious goop.

<-------Another type of goop. You shouldn't eat this one either.

If you don't know about it already, you might wonder what the problem is with HFCS. Well, part of it is what pure fructose does to the body. Studies have shown that pure fructose short circuits the way the body deals with sugar. Normally when you take in sugar at some point your body will produce hormones that tell the brain that you have taken in enough and you can stop eating. Pure fructose bypasses this process. So you keep eating (or drinking)...and you don't want to stop. Anyone that has been on a serious sweet-tooth binge can tell you that when this happens you don't stop being hungry...you just eat and eat and eat. Even though you can feel pressure in your gut from all the trash you just consumed, you aren't getting the signal from the brain that you don’t need any more.

The two main studies of HFCS will tell you that the affects are actually closer to sucrose and that this short circuit doesn't happen. However, it is interesting to note that both these studies were funded by the soda pop companies (the people with the most to lose if people were ever to get wise to the affects of HFCS).

The other problem with HFCS is availability. We've made it so easy to 'sugar up' something that we do it to everything and often. I recall growing up, I might have a soda pop once a month. In the 1980s when HFCS was starting to really get a hold on us, I was drinking about a soda a day. By the time I hit adulthood, I had completely replaced water with sugary drinks.

And how many times have you heard some one say that they lost weight by just cutting out soda pop? Lots I'll bet. Even if HFCS isn't doing the same short circuit that pure fructose does, we've made it WAY too easy to load up on empty carbs that provide no real benefits to the body. In fact, the explosion in the number of obese people in the US coincides with the time that HFCS started to become popular.

Let's look at the stuff that has this sugary taste added in...

White Bread...yep
Wheat Bread...yep there too
100% Wheat Bread...some do, some don't
Breakfast Cereals...most do, almost ALL the kids cereals do
Soda Pops...you bet! Even 7-Up with the big "Natural" on the label has HFCS
NOTE: The FDA doesn't regulate the use of the term "All Natural" on labels.
Cookies, cakes, pies...do you really have to ask? Canned Fruits...some do, more than you'd think

And most disappointing...and surprising...nature's perfect food...ketchup. I was shocked! I grew up drowning my food in this red, delicious stuff. And now I have to come to terms with the fact that my favorite food....which I thought was pretty inoffensive...was in fact responsible for some of the extra pounds that I now carry around with me. The good news for you ketchup lovers is that the folks at Heinz have come up with a substitute for us.

The new Heinz organic is new to the shelves at your local grocery stores. It was released in response to a growingly more educated and health aware public. I picked this stuff up last week and gave it a try. Now keep in mind that I wasn't at all thrilled at the thought of having to change this part of my diet. But I was willing to give it a chance since it was not laced with HFCS like its mainstream counterpart. I found that it tasted great. It actually allowed the flavor of the main food to come out instead of being completely overwhelmed by the tomatoy goodness. I approve...this yummy alternate will have a place in my heart...but not in the form of stored fat.

So back to the subject of HFCS...

We have a sweetener that is in most foods and has been linked to obesity. What is the best way to combat this horrible ingredient? Read the nutrition labels when you shop. If you go out for food, ask if they have nutritional information on their dishes (some do...McDonalds has a BUNCH of stuff with HFCS in it). Don't assume that because something says healthy on the label that it actually is. Read what's in it. Yes, this means that you are going to have to spend some extra time shopping at first, but once you get used to it, you will know what is good for you and what isn't.

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -Wendell Phillips
(I learned it from an episode of Star Trek)

Now go run your fat asses around the block a few times...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

test post

April 12, 2007 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Token Fat Guy said...


April 12, 2007 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You have probably already seen this site - but I found it intriguing the lengths companies will go to to prove their product is not harmful.


I almost has me conviced HFCS is not any worse than sugar for you.


April 12, 2007 at 5:38 PM  

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