Do you know anyone who still actually believes high fructose corn syrup is “OK in moderation”?
As I've said before, my problem with the “moderation” word, is that it means something different for everyone. Moderation with HFCS in our family means our teen has a pop now and then if he's at a friend's or if we're at Grandma's. (Soda pop is FULL of high fructose corn syrup.) Even this drives me crazy, but I zip my lip, because I know that if we totally forbid it, then it would be all the more appealing. (But I sure love when he gets some acne right after drinking it!) This averages out to about one or two a month or so for him. (The younger kids might get juice about as often, and that's as big a treat for them as pop is to our oldest.) But pop in moderation for someone else might mean, “I only have one a few times a week“, or “I only have one a day“, or “I only have one at each break time, I don't sip on one all day like some…” All this “moderation” doesn't even include all the other foods High Fructose Corn Syrup is found in! (Diet pop isn't any better, by the way…)
I'm curious what your experience has been, but I think most people who still drink pop regularly, or don't read labels to try and avoid high fructose corn syrup, fall into one of these two groups:
A. They know it's not great, but have that same old mentality of, “Oh well, we can't live forever anyway!” Unfortunately, no amount of knowledge in the world can help them along until they're good and ready to make some changes in their life. Until then, they're just inching their way closer to heart disease or other degenerative diseases that will prevent them from enjoying their later years, if they make it that long.
B. They don't realize that it's in almost everything, which is one of the reasons why I try to buy mostly organic. Those of you who are new to eating healthier may have no idea how fortunate you are, because 5 years ago when I got on this bandwagon, it was not easy finding healthier alternatives. Not only are the better options much more available these days, they're also becoming more affordable all the time.
Here are more high fructose corn syrup links in case you're not convinced how terrible it is yet:
- Read more on sugars and the best choices!
- Check out my original post about the high fructose corn syrup commercials.
- San Francisco Chronicle: Do the risks go beyond our waistline?
- I have to admit, I wasn't always a label reader, either…
- And I still struggle with my love for sweets at times. However, the knowledge of how rotten sugar is for us, whether organic or HFCS, helps me control this a little better!
- What about trans fats?
- ROOKIE TIPS for eating healthier
photo by LiketheGrandCanyon
Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Fine in Moderation? says
“But I sure love when he gets some acne right after drinking it!”
Haha, I feel the same way. It makes me cringe when I see people I care about putting non-foods in their body.
LYM, I’m glad you found your way here, too! 🙂 Hey, I have an idea for you to try to make your oatmeal even more healthy! https://kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/02/organic-oatmeal-recipe.html
Crystal & Leslie, yes, that has been all over my in-box today – I’m glad we already avoid it here like the plague!
mercury in the HFCS, that is very scary. i’m glad that we have cut it from our diet. thanks for the article kelly!
Have you seen this yet?
Love the links to the satire vid & the whole discussion on HFCS. Sugar in all forms is killing us, and we’ve gotten rid of the biggest culprit (cold cereal) in our house in the last two years. Oatmeal for brkfst every day, soaked overnight in milk, then cooked while we dress & then add buttersalt & cinn/rais or frozen berries or frozen bananas/dash-of-real-maple-syrup. Or just scrambled eggs – even my 4yo has learned to and loves to cook them himself.
Glad to find this blog – real food & Catholic, too! A woman after my own heart!
so your site is a blog? I’m new to all this – I thought all I could do was write. I’d love to have more stuff and like you do….
My advice is that it can be done, but unless you know more about technical stuff than I do, it is so much more difficult and time-consuming than you would ever imagine! But strangely, I still love it.
Oh, and one more thing: Blogger is easiest, but WordPress.org is best. You can google these and get hours of reading.
NO FAKE SUGARS! They are also the devil! Will look at the “my dark secrets” post. I’m interested in starting a web site myself but have no idea how to do it – do you have any advice for me?
If only I could remember all this when a craving kicks in! Have you read the comments at the “My dark secrets” post? I’ll bet you would find it interesting.
You say you’re looking for new sugar-free recipes, but you haven’t replaced sugar with any fake sugars, right? I’m sure you know this, but fake sugars are rotten, too! See the category to the right, “sugars-artificial”.
Natural sugars are the only sugars we should be eating. They occur naturally in Veggies, Fruit and Milk. Our bodies need it for fuel. The fiber surrounding the sugars (actually called fructose and lactose) help to release the sugar (converted by our body into glucose) into our bodies at a steady rate. Refined sugar is a direct shot into the bloodstream causing insulin bolts trying to balance things out. That’s the ups and downs we feel from eating sugary foods. Then our body gets adjusts to the sugar intake mand begins releasing insulin in preparation for what it knows is coming. Kind of like a drug junkie or an alcoholic – their body gets used to the amount of poison it’s getting and needs more to get the same effect. Refined sugar is a non-food – there is no nutritional value at all. The dictionary definition of food is any nutritious substance …in order to maintain life and growth. As “sugar cane” it falls into that category – as refined sugar…no way. In order to get the pure sugar molecules, every bit of fiber, every vitamin and mineral is stripped away. It’s the same with refined flours. Sugar stimulates hunger in us – it was a survival mechanism and helped to steer us away from eating poisonous things – but as modern day people, we don’t need to worry about that any more. But the stimulus remains. When we eat refined sugar (don’t think that you’re doing good because you don’t add it to foods yourself – food manufacturers do it for us) it stimulates hunger – but for more of the same types of food. It’s difficult to burn off the added sugars we are consuming so it gathers around our breast, waist, hips, and thighs. When those areas fill up it then surrounds organs in our bodies. There you have weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and all the other things that come from organs that are compromised. On top of all that you have problems just digesting this foreign substance. All your digestive organs are trying very hard to process it and they too are being compromised. Now you have constipation at best, and all kinds of other digestive conditions could occur (Chron’s, divertiticulitis, etc.). Add on top of that the fact that the more sugar a person eats, the less they eat of the foods they should be eating. My son’s diet is a perfect example – fruitloops, pizza, burger, fries, gatorade, cookies, pasta – no fruit, veggies, or whole grain at all! Our bodies NEED the vitamins and minerals from those types of foods. When we don’t get them, it pulls it from other parts of our bodies in an attempt to get what we need. There goes the calcium and minerals in our teeth and bones! We are vitamin deprived and that causes break downs – compromised immune system, etc. Our bodies are amazing, but it will only function as well as we allow it to. Garbage in, garbage out. Everyone has a different tolerance level to added sugar. And it’s going to manifest itself differently in everyone. Genetics and environment determine our health. Genetics we can’t do anything about, but we can control what we put into our body! And maybe alleviate or prevent some of the things genetics will throw at us. I was struggling with turning 40 – not the age, but the changes that seemed to be occurring way too fast. If I hadn’t tried a 24 hour sugar fast in a last resort to lessen my under eye bags, I wouldn’t have realized just how sugar was affecting me (24 hours turned into 72 into 2 weeks). It spurred me on to find out “why” and that’s how I’ve come to this point. A fabulous book to read on the subject is Sugar Blues by William Dufty. It explores the history of refined sugar up through modern day (well 1970s). It’s a real eye-opener (ha!). Ok – I’ll get off my soap box now – I need to find some new sugar-free recipes anyway…
So no refined sugar, but do you have some natural sugars? I know sugar is bad and contributes to so many problems, but never would’ve thought it would take away bags under the eyes!
thanks for your info – I am on a no refined sugar kick for about a year now and have felt tremendous benefits (no more under eye bags, constipation, sluggishness, and more things are changing every week!) I’m struggling with converting my kids and love reading your tips. I’ve been blogging about my journey to sugar free at sugarsthedevil.blogspot.com and will link your blog to mine. Thanks!
well this is from the wap site and it states some interesting things about hfcs vs sugar. maybe this will help out, https://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/highfructose.html
Leslie, don’t you hate that when you’re trying to help someone and they get that “you’re being totally tuned out” look in their eye?
Mary, hmmm, that’s a good question.
First off, don’t think you’re being “judged” for the few compromises you’re still making – compared to most people, you’re waaaaaaaaaay ahead of the game!! We all have our things we still do (see the “my dark secrets” post) and the places we could grow here and there. I totally understand that just for sanity’s sake, it’s just how it is some days…especially with TEN kids…yeah, you get some slack for sure! 🙂
But in regards to your question, less grams of sugar with HFCS or more grams of just plain sugar…I really don’t know the answer. HFCS is so nasty with the refined super processed corn made into sugar, but plain sugar is surely not good either, especially in large amounts. I guess just shoot for not much of either one, and do the best you can. Sorry I’m not more help. If Anna is reading this (a very helpful and knowledgeable reader from CA), she might shed some light on it, but she’d for sure stay that it’s all bad.
I’d love to hear what other readers out there think about this question…anyone?
I have kind of the opposite background from what you describe as your own. I came from a very healthy, slow foods type upbringing, although not WAPF. More everything home made and whole grain and no junk foods ever. We never had store bought cookies or candy or fast food or pop. Only rarely cold cereal and then only the plainer ones. Very few items on our pantry shelves that were processed. One exception I can think of is store bought canned soups, although my mom always made her own for supper. The cans were for an occasional lunch and creamed soups for in recipes.
And that is what I tried to do with my own home. But during the point at which I had five children under 7, I had to start using a few convenience foods. I also had access to an Aldi grocery store for cheap groceries, so those convenience foods I added were not to cost prohibitive for a large family on a small income.
“A few convenience foods” at that time for me, meant that I could have pre-packaged foods such as frozen burritos or pizzas or corn dogs a few times a month. I bought graham crackers one box a month. I still tried to make hot breakfast most days, but we used the store brand cheerios, corn flakes and rice krispies about once a week.
Several years and another couple of kids later, and trying to keep up with an increasingly busy homeschool schedule, I had to start cooking gluten free for my husband. So I had to totally re-think all my menu ideas and meal planning. At about that time I was also again pregnant, so I just kind of gave up on health. I bought and cooked what I had to to stay sane. Since I live in a very rural area and cook GF for my entire family, the cost of the pre-made GF items is very prohibitive, so I made many things from scratch that I never had before, such as noodles and tortillas. Many things we just replaced with other meal items. And many baked items I just quit using because of not having energy to learn how to bake GF.
I now have ten kids and four years of gluten free cooking/baking experience. I no longer school my oldest at home. So I finally have a bit more time to start getting back to more healthy cooking.
Needless to say I have not rid my home of HFCS. I guess I could say I use it “in moderation.” I don’t have a TV, so I have no clue about the commercials you mentioned. But I can define what I mean by “in moderation.” I don’t check my labels for HFCS, but since I make most everything from scratch anyway, and have to check all labels for gluten, I truly think it is not in much. I imagine that among the items I buy regularly, it is in ketchup and a few of the breakfast cereals that I still purchase and perhaps a handful of other items in small amounts.
Re cereal, since I only get the basic plain ones like those I mentioned above, it is minimal there. I buy very few other pre-made anything. We don’t drink pop. Perhaps once or twice a year I get some to have with pizza, and a neighbor gives us a 12-pack for root beer floats now and then.
But here’s the thing I wonder about. As far as glycemic or pancreatic or metabolic or whatever kind of stress, how does HCFS in small amounts compare to regular corn syrup or sugar or also malt syrupwhen they are in larger amounts. For instance, regarding the breakfast cereals we still use (sad but true, I rejoice that we are down to only about 3 days a week), I usually buy Wal-mart’s Great Value brand cereals. I see the Corn Flakes lists sugar second, then malt syrup, then HFCS. Total sugars are only 2 g/serving. Compare that to what they call Strawberry Awake which lists sugar second and then the HFCS is the seventh item. But it has 10 grams total sugar. Then take Rice Krispies which has only 3 grams sugar, but the HFCS is the third thing.
I have noticed that some really junky cereals, the ones that are very high in the sugar per serving, perhaps 15-20g/serving, (I don’t have any here to say for sure) are sweetened with just sugar or with regular corn syrup.
How does the higher sugar but from better sources compare to the low sugar but from HFCS? Not that either ought to be a staple, but just for those times (which each of us needs to decide for ourselves) when one needs to sacrifice convenience (sanity) for health, how does one judge these things? Is is better to use a higher sugar product if it is sugar, or a low sugar item that is HFSC? Previously I would have always chosen the barely sweetened item, assuming it to be better. But is it really? I know some who would always choose the higher sweetened item in order to avoid HFCS, but is that always better? I don’t know.
Is this one of those times when you really only wanted to know “this much”? But you did ask for our experience…
we avoid HFCS like the plague!! i am still amazed at how many people have said to me it’s ok even in moderation. it’s very scary because alot of people fall for the commercials without doing any research on it on their own. i try to explain why it’s bad to our family, hoping maybe it would stop them from giving the kids candy or juice. but to no avail, it seems as though the minute i start, they totally tune it out. so the minute they leave or the kids come home with candy i toss it into the trash.
Jenna, you’re so right, it’s sad how deceptive it can all be.
Julie, the only bad part about school is when the teacher has parents volunteer to bring in snacks – you should see some of the crap that comes in. I love it now that my kids are in rooms with teachers who have the kids bring their own. Plus they only take hot lunch.
yes, that commercial irks me, as most people think of moderation differently. when i watched wonder what else that woman with the HCFS popsicle ate that day with HCFS in it, ketchup, instant oatmeal, granola bar, jelly, bread, etc. i do think a large number of people don’t know how many processed products have HCFS in it. i know i still find myself surprised when i read my can of organic diced tomatoes has organic sugar in it, and i’ve been aware of sugar/additives/label reading FOR YEARS! if you and I can still get surprised, it’s no wonder those who don’t have their nose in nutrition, health and food everyday are unaware….
Julie Hurley says
I despise HFCS and am on a lifelong quest to rid foods with this ingredient in them! With a 3-year-old and nearly 2-year-old, I’m starting to get nervous for when they’re ready for school.