Thursday, September 18, 2008

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I recently saw an ad on TV talking high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The commercial was trying to convince viewers that HFCS was no different than regular sugars. Below are the facts it tried to state:

  • High fructose corn syrup has the same number of calories as table sugar and is equal in sweetness. It contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted high fructose corn syrup "Generally Recognized as Safe" status for use in food, and reaffirmed that ruling in 1996 after thorough review.

  • High fructose corn syrup offers numerous benefits. It keeps food fresh, enhances fruit and spice flavors, retains moisture in bran cereals, helps keep breakfast and energy bars moist, maintains consistent flavors in beverages and keeps ingredients evenly dispersed in condiments.

When trying to convince the public that HFCS is safe and harmless I wouldn't recommend using the words, "generally recognized as safe". Below are some of the true facts about high fructose corn syrup:

  • Today, food companies use HFCS—a mixture of fructose and glucose—because it’s inexpensive, easy to transport and keeps foods moist. And because HFCS is so sweet, it’s cost effective for companies to use small quantities of HCFS in place of other more expensive sweeteners or flavorings.

  • When HFCS is ingested, it travels straight to the liver which turns the sugary liquid into fat, and unlike other carbohydrates HFCS does not cause the pancreas to produce insulin; which acts as a hunger quenching signal to the brain. So we get stuck in a vicious cycle, eating food that gets immediately stored as fat and never feeling full.

  • Fructose requires a different metabolic pathway than other carbohydrates because it basically skips glycolysis (normal carbohydrate metabolism). Because of this, fructose is an unregulated source of “acetyl CoA,” or the starting material for fatty acid synthesis. This, coupled with unstimulated leptin levels, is like opening the flood gates of fat deposition.

  • High in fructose and low in copper-containing foods result in inadequate formation of elastin and collagen--the sinews that hold the body together. (aka people are aging quicker)

Because fructose is cheap and easy to store it has replace refined sugar is many instances. Sure, it is okay to eat a sugary sweet every now and then but our bodies are on overload from eating processed, manufactured foods. The best way to stay away from HFCS is to make your food at home more often and check food labels while grocery shopping. Once you start checking labels you will be shocked to see how many foods HFCS has crept its way into. It has taken me over a year to finally find staples such as bread, jam, crackers, cereal, and juice drinks that didn't contain high amounts of HFCS. Below is a list of major foods you want to try and avoid to reduce your consumption of HFCS:

Regular soft drinks
Fruit juice and fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice
Pancake syrups
Fruit-flavored yogurts
Frozen yogurts
Ketchup and BBQ sauces
Jarred and canned pasta sauces
Canned soups
Canned fruits (if not in its own juice)
Breakfast cereals
Highly sweetened breakfast cereals

HFCS and other sweeteners react to the body much like a drug does. If you don't believe me, try to stop eating sugar cold turkey....I had a headache for two weeks straight trying to rid myself of my sugar high. and now when I eat sugar it feels just like I have taken too much cold medicine. My head feels foggy, I get a headache, and my stomache hurts.

The producers of HFCS can try and tell me that HFCS is safe but from the real facts and personal experience I have to say it's a lie. And besides, if you need a commercial to try and convince people your product is safe...something has to be wrong.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Heaven in my Mouth

Here is the perfect meal....mmmm

Zuppa Toscana....yes, it tastes just like the soup from Olive Garden

1 lb. Italian Sausage

3-4 potatoes, cut in small pieces

1 Onion chopped

6 slices of bacon fried, drained, and crumbled

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

2 C. kale or swiss chard chopped

2 cans chicken broth

1 qt. water

1 C. heavy whipping cream

Cook sausage and drain on paper towel. Place onions and bacon in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until onions are almost clear. Remove bacon and crumble. Add garlic to the onions and cook an additional 1 minute. Add chicken broth, water, and potatoes; simmer for 15 minutes. Add crumbled bacon, sausage, kale, and cream. Simmer 4 more minutes and serve with rolls or breadsticks!

Chocolate Pudding Cake...this chocolate cake is worth eating sugar for!

Bake any chocolate cake in 9x13 pan and let cool completely.

Mix 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 C. powdered sugar, and 1 C. whipping cream (whipped first). Spread over cake and refrigerate 30-60 minutes.

Mix 1 large box of instant chocolate pudding with 2 cups of milk. Spread and let set.

Spread 1 small cool whip (8 oz.) and grate chocolate bar over top.