Beware of the HFCS!

by Michelle on February 26, 2009

About a month ago, I began writing this post to inform you that I don’t think there’s ever been an ingredient so sneaky and nasty as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Now I’m writing not just to tell you, but to plead to you- avoid HFCS at all costs!

This will be a difficult task to do, but let me give you some incentive (and then you may need to watch the calming video that Sarah posted).  Although HFCS has already been linked to obesity and a slew of other health problems, there have been recent studies finding mercury in high fructose corn syrup.

Mercury poses a number of health risks to humans which include (according to the sources linked below) neurological disorders, loss of hair, teeth, nails, and kidney function, muscle weakness, mood swings, memory impairment, headaches, confusion, and even death in severe situations. In other words, tons of negative impacts you want to avoid!

The mercury contamination into HFCS occurs when factories process corn into the syrup using a method that can easily leave mercury in the finished product. More specifically, Natural News states that the contamination happens when caustic soda is created and used to break down the corn.  The soda is created “by exposing raw materials to pools of electrified mercury in a large vat. Through this process, the caustic soda gets contaminated with mercury, and when corn kernels are exposed to this caustic soda to break them down, that contamination is passed through to the HFCS.”

And then this dangerous product is passed on into many widely available foods that you likely consume on a daily basis! In fact, according to Natural News, the average American ingests twelve teaspoons of HFCS every single day!

If you look closely at the ingredients labels at on foods at the grocery store, you will quickly see why the amount of HFCS consumed is so easily done. Below is a list of a number of foods (some shocking) that contain what some are calling the  “silent killer”. I can only imagine there are hundreds more…

  • Pop
  • Juice (Bottles & Frozen concentrate)*
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Canned Beans
  • Sauces, Dressings, & Marinades
  • Drink Mixes
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Pickles
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Chocolate Syrup

*Juice deserved a special star because I am outright disgusted when I see juice advertisements convincing mothers that their brand of juice is healthy for children when it contains large amounts of ingredients such as HFCS! I urge you to look carefully at juice in particular because it is a very common drink for children and one that has been very wrongly considered healthy in terms of HFCS. There are healthier options, you may just need to look at a few different brands to find one.

HFCS has snuck into tons of food and if you only read the front of the package you may be fooled into thinking a product is healthy. An advertisement or label claiming to be whole grain, healthy, all natural, or 100% whatever may be misleading you. You can take charge of your health by reading the ingredients and knowing what is actually in the food you eat.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah February 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Awesome post Michelle! This is your best one yet. I can tell you are really passionate about this subject. I share in your disgust for HFCS and its ubiquity. I have even seen it hidden in (pre-packaged) SUSHI!

The only way to truly avoid it is to reduce and eventually eliminate processed, packaged foods. Eat only raw, whole foods and juice your own fruits and veggies. By the way, my green smoothies were a hit at the office potluck today! I put in strawberries, peaches, bananas, mangoes, freshly juiced apple juice, pure local honey and organic rainbow swiss chard (a leafy green). It tasted and felt great!

Michelle February 26, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Thanks, Sarah! I hate HFCS already and to then learn it contains mercury! It’s so unfair for consumers to have to be as careful as they do today.

I can’t wait for the farmer’s market so we can eat all that fresh, local food! :) And your green smoothies sound delicious- what a great combination! I’ll have to try that this weekend!

Sarah February 28, 2009 at 1:39 am

Your section on juice/moms in commercials just reminded me – I just saw a commercial with Mia Hamm endorsing infant formula… I felt physically sick http://openeyehealth.com/2008/12/baby-formula-you-cant-trust/

Michelle March 9, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I just located HFCS in my Miracle Whip!

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