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Tag Archives: High Fructose Corn Syrup

Soft Drinks Hit Health Hard (Part 2)

Soft drink

Picture from: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/experts-concerned-about-the-amount-of-soft-drink-were-consuming/story-e6frg6n6-1226500270601

 

Last week I asked the question, “should soft drinks be considered unhealthy”? I’ll let you answer for yourself. No matter what “soft” drink you imbibe today, it is likely filled with ingredients that you do not know is lurking in the recipe. Today, the main ingredient (about 90%) of the beverage is carbonated water. Five to 10% of its content is high fructose corn syrup, sugar or non-calorie sweetener, acid (lowers blood PH) and other additives gums, pectins, caffeine, flavors, colors, and preservatives like BHA.

WARNING: The information below may contain material that is alarming but definitely worth reading. The information gives you a better understanding of why it is important to understand what ingredients you actually put into your body.

How can soda affect your health and weight?

1. Citric acid and phosphoric acid affect blood PH and natural stomach acid secretions interfering with digestion, increasing risk of kidney stones, yeast overgrowth and bowel disease and leaching calcium from bone (especially teeth, spine, pelvis) causing weak bones and mineral imbalances.

2. Caffeine is a diuretic that can facilitate vitamin/mineral depletion, dehydration, fertility issues, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

3. High fructose corn syrup and excess sugar leads to excess calories, increased weight and blood sugar problems like diabetes. Research studies also support a link with the following health hazards:

a. Pancreatic cancer: University of Minnesota conducted a study with individuals who drank approximately two regular sodas/day. The conclusion was that there was an 87% higher chance of having cancer than those who drank beverages without sugar/corn syrup.

b. Diabetes and heart disease: At the American heart association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Cardiology Conference there was a presentation by a professor from the University of California, San Francisco who made the association of approximately 200,000 new cases of diabetes and heart disease/year with soda drinkers.

c. Immune system: sugar has also been shown to lower the immune system due to damage of white blood cells.

4. Artificial sweeteners can lead to eating more because they do not provide the calories to signal to your body that it is satisfying your hunger. They breakdown to methanol and formaldehyde affecting the immune and nervous system and may even be involved in destroying brain neurons leading to headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue with an inability to fall asleep. Other associated symptoms include vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, and asthma/chest tightness. Recently diet soda, like regular soda, was linked to a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

5. Sodium benzoate can throw off electrolyte balance. It is a preservative in many foods. The combination of sodium benzoate and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in soda can react to form benzene. The major health effects of benzene include damage to bone marrow and decreases in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can cause damage to DNA. Damage to DNA will contribute to aging and nerve diseases like Parkinson’s. Benzene is known to lead to cancer in both animals and humans.

6. Caramel color may suppress the immune system and has been linked to increase blood pressure.

All these potential harmful effects of drinking a “soft” beverage seems kinda extreme when in actuality most of what you are drinking is water. If you are thirsty stick with water and flavor it yourself. Tea (hot or iced), V-8 or homemade lemonade are also good options.  Any questions about what you are really eating and drinking, let me know and we can decipher it together.

 

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Why Do Dangerous Food Additives Exist?

คนไทย + Trans fat

คนไทย + Trans fat (Photo credit: veer66)

If you are eating foods because someone else is telling you it is ok, the FDA, commercial food industry, governmental organizations, etc..you may want to think twice. After reading this, you’ll want to be an educated food consumer on:

1.what your eating

2.where it comes from

3.how it is marketed and processed

According to http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp,“Trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils.”  Look for them in the ingredient list on food packages”.

One of the most important question the site asks is  “Why did trans fats become so popular if they have such bad health effects?

The answer to the question…”Before 1990, very little was known about how trans fat can harm your health.  In the 1990s, research began identifying the adverse health effects of trans fats.”

Wow, this is powerful! For approximately 80 years we consumed trans fats before they started to study the health effects. The results from studies have not been favorable. Well trans fats are still in the food supply even though “Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.  It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

A recent study has linked trans fats with aggressive behavior, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313122504.htm.

Wonder what we will find out next????

Keep your eye on similar food ingredients,like fructose corn syrup, that are used to prolong shelf-life, improve eye appeal and increase sugar addiction. There are really so many more, http://www.gaianaturopathic.com/docs/Food_Additives.pdf.

What commercial food businesses do:

Add ingredients or make changes to the food without telling the consumer; wait to see if anyone complains, wait a few more years to do research on safety, roll out a marketing campaign to increase “chatter” on the lack of health issues the item is associated with and after so many years introduce a new ingredient that is just as bad to continue increasing revenue and keep the nation addicted to food.

The answer:

Eliminate commercially packaged foods from your grocery list. We are guinea pigs and are not only paying out-of-pocket but are paying with our lives by compromising our health.

 

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60 Minutes Confirms All Calories Are Not Equal

Public relations of high-fructose corn syrup

Public relations of high-fructose corn syrup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So many people have told me about this and finally I had the time to watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta‘s report for 60 Minutes, http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7403942n&tag=mncol;lst;4.

You know, I’m not sure why Dr. Lustig was chosen for this piece. His comment about high fructose corn syrup being just as bad as sugar is so off the chart wrong it’s almost criminal. But I agree, processed foods including sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin…should be avoided.

I’m happy that he is on this campaign and more professionals are finally admitting that what has been promoted as healthy, “Eliminate fat and you will not be fat”, IS NOT necessarily true. Kimber Stanhope, a nutritional biologist at the University of California, Davis has actually changed her own diet as she observes the results of her study.

Here’s a piece on high fructose corn syrup I wrote awhile back. It is worth a quick read, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/buyers-beware-hfcs-may-soon-be-a-wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing/.

One of the BIG messages I believe is so true and if so, I am way before my time (LOL). It is a mantra that I repeat to my clients all the time. “All calories are NOT equal”. If sugar is addicting and leads to health complications when you eat it, how is that the same when you eat the same amount of calories from a satisfying and nourishing piece of fish?

Three major points:

1. Many of the main health diseases (obesity, diabetes, cancer) are related to over sugar consumption (this means carbs too).

2. When sugar is consumed changes in the brain occur similar to that of cocaine addiction.

3. You probably do not realize how much sugar/carbs you are eating because we have been trained to think eat carbs not fat.

There is so much to talk about, I’m in low carb heaven :). More points on this next week.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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No More “Secret” Ingredients

How to make caramel from sweetened condensed milk
High-fructose corn syrup for sale
English: A pile of plain M&M's candies.

Image via Wikipedia

Looking at these pictures may start your mouth-watering for any one of your favorite treats. But before you bite, check out last weeks blog, valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/secret-ingredients-are-not-a-secret/, and read on as I continue to open up a can of worms.

When you are eating your favorite treat and you focus on its appearance, I suggest you take a closer “look” and focus on the ingredient list to uncover the secrets in the foods you eat. What looks good on the outside may contain harmful dyes, preservatives and additives on the inside. Ingredients like hydrogenated oil, MSG, corn syrup, and the others I have mentioned here are dangerous villains when it comes to your weight and health.

Many commercially prepared processed foods contain deadly ingredients in order to prolong product shelf life, enhance eye appeal and mouth feel. Oh, and let’s not forget, increase the bottom for the food companies.

In fact, as good as the food looks on the outside is as bad as it is on the inside. For example, the pretty olors that draw you to a handful of M&M’s are made from petroleum and other toxic materials that are extremely hazardous to your health.

Here’s a short list of what is lurking in your pantry:

Caramel color (used in soda and many other products) sounds benign, as do all the other additives I am mentioning, but is made by heating sugar with ammonium and it has been linked with cancer.

Yellow dyes#5 and 6 are thought to invoke allergies and hypersensitivity/hyperactivity reactions, kidney and adrenal cancer and these ingredients are possibly contaminated with cancer causing materials.

Blue #2 has been linked to brain cancer.

BHA has been determined by The Dept of Health and Human Services as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”.

Propyl gallate is likely to increase inflammation in those with asthma and cause skin and stomach issues.

Mycoprotein (or Quorn pronounced Kworn) is a high protein vegetarian food developed by the chemical manufacturer, ICI. It is produced by fermenting a fungus and culturing it in huge vats. “The company that makes Quorn has tried to describe the product as ‘mushroom in origin’, which is stretching the truth quite a bit and they have been taken to court over it in the USA“. The result, allergic reactions including vomiting and much more.

Despite the health effects, these products remain on the market! Why? How?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 13, 2012 in artificial colors, Food, Food Label, health

 

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Trying to Eat Healthy? Be Careful!

Everyone knows the risks associated with eating junk but what are the risks for eating blueberries and broccoli?

When we eat healthy fruits and vegetables we are not supposed to worry about overdosing on vitamins and minerals. Yet, it can happen. Too much of a good thing is NOT good for you.

However, it has not stopped scientists in England from genetically engineering our food supply. Check out this label, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20125868-10391704/super-broccoli-debuts-but-whats-so-super-about-it/?tag=mncol;lst;4.

“Super Broccoli” “Naturally higher in glucosinolates” What’s a glucosinolate? Glucosinolate is “a plant nutrient THOUGHT to prevent heart disease by breaking down fat in the
body.” The BIG word is “thought”.  Eating more “super broccoli” will not “prevent heart disease” if you continue to over consume trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and excess calories.

So now our “healthy foods” are being sabotaged by big business and at risk of becoming endangered or even extinct.

Think twice before purchasing these types of Genetically Modified (GM) foods. If you want an eye-opening education, check this out,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdwaEg6HLVU and this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvU2yH4IpBo.

It’s your choice, how are you going to exercise your consumer dollar? Organic foods are a safe bet.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in GMO, Natural, natural foods, organic

 

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Buyers Beware HFCS May Soon Be A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Raw (unrefined, unbleached) sugar, bought at t...

Image via Wikipedia

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used as an ingredient in almost every food you consume. For years it has slowly crept into our food supply. Now there is a lot of controversy over its effects on health.  Oh yes, we are all human guinea pigs!

58% of consumers are concerned about the link of high fructose corn syrup with diabetes, heart disease, obesity…It’s no wonder the Corn Refiners Association (The BIG GUYS behind HFCS: Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Tate and Lyle) petitioned the FDA to rename HFCS, “corn sugar”. See the Big Battle, consumerist.com/2011/04/big-sugar-sues-big-corn-over-corn-sugar-ad-campaign-for-hfcs.html

Now I’m not a fan of excess sugar in my food but I’d take real sugar cane over high fructose corn syrup any day. I suggest keeping sugar to a minimum by selecting fresh or frozen produce, but with this issue, I side with the sugar companies that are spending the big bucks to prevent the association of sugar with HFCS or its alias “corn sugar”. Huh, maybe they know something we don’t.

Even for those of us who believe HFCS may be harmful, unless you do a “kitchen” makeover, you have no control over what cheap products companies decide to use as ingredients for their products.  

This is a quick list of how to shop differently and make better food choices:

http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup

http://cleanerplateclub.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/take-the-high-fructose-corn-syrup-challenge/

http://parentingtips365.com/2010/01/19/how-to-remove-high-fructose-corn-syrup-from-your-diet/

So for all my label readers’ out there, if you are shopping one day and you see an item that does not contain HFCS, check again for the “Wolf in sheep’s clothing–corn sugar” just to make sure you are not fooled by the Corn Refiners Association.

 

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Parents Beware Everything You Say Is Being Recorded

Yes. Everything you say is being recorded by your kids. I know thin is in but I had a very disturbing conversation with a first grade teacher. She tells me that her students bring in 100 calorie snack packs and talk about how the package contains too many calories.  Anyone have the same bells and whistles going off in their heads as I do?

If you have a food problem (you overeat) or a problem with certain foods do not make your problems your kid’s problems. Kids should be enjoying their snacks not talking about how it has too many calories. If you do not want them to have junk send them to school with a 60 calorie serving of fruit or 25 calories from a serving of vegetables, no junk there.

 More important than the 100 calories in a snack pack the “other stuff” is just not good for their health:

  • processed flour
  • PALM OIL (not necessarily bad if you follow a low carbohydrate diet but if your kids eat French fries, Mac-n-cheese, and ice cream it’s not the best)
  • SUGAR   
  • SALT   
  • HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP   
  • CORNSTARCH   
  • SOY LECITHIN (too much can affect hormones)   
  • NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR   

 My kids always complain about how they are the only ones who have to have fruit or veggies for snack. Yes, I give in and give them other things because I try to be sensitive to their feelings but I do give them fresh fruits and vegetables most of the time. If you are likely to be complaining about the calories in a snack pack I suggest you button up and give them a snack you can feel good about sending to school.

 Oh and one more really important thing to think about is that kids need more calories than you think because they are growing, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/healthy-weight-basics/balance.htm. You can see that for a girl in first grade who is sedentary 1,200 calories is recommended, just as many calories as many women try to consume when they diet. Boys the same age need more.

Who is the 100 calorie snack for anyway, the kids or the parents? Either way, no one needs the “other stuff”. We do need the vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients from fruits and vegetables.  So give your children fruits and vegetables as snacks. And then, let your kids hear you talk about the healthy nutrients in their snacks that will help them grow, learn and live better lives.    

収穫の秋 Autumn Fruit and Vegetables in Japan

Image via Wikipedia

 

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Vitamin Water: Another “UN”Healthy Food in Disguise

In my efforts to avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), I started drinking Vitamin Water. I divide the bottle into thirds and add water so the amount of sugar is not high and the HFCS is replaced with crystalline fructose (CF). The name Vitamin Water implies that this beverage is healthy but really there are less than 5% of minerals. So, in essence vitamin water is really sugar water worse yet, fructose water.

It seems I have been seeing CF in more products lately and did a little research on this new ingredient that is seemingly popping up in “healthier” foods. Here’s what I found:

Crystalline fructose is worse than HFCS! Why? Because it is composed entirely of processed fructose vs. 55% processed fructose in HFCS. Do not get my message confused. I am not suggesting you stick with HFCS. I am saying stay away from both!

Processed fructose has been linked to numerous unhealthy risk factors (high triglycerides, high blood sugar and insulin levels) and poor health conditions including: fatty liver, diabetes, heart disease and cancer;

I guess on a more positive note, CF is 20% sweeter than sugar so if you are looking to cut calories you may be inclined to use it so that you can cut calories.

But I will keep reminding you, it is not about calories. It’s about the type of metabolic activity that the calories produce. If the calories follow healthy metabolic pathways, you will avoid ill health. If your calories are metabolized and trigger unhealthy responses and increase hunger signals, you will pay with your weight and health. Vitamin Water and crystalline fructose are two perfect examples of this.

My message is to always read the labels for ingredients while you focus on eating healthy products while lessening your attentiveness on just the calories and fat. It is more important to know which ingredients your calories come from than to obsess with a 100 calorie marketing seal of approval.

 

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Breast Cancer, Diabetes and Insulin: What you Know Could Save Your Life

Happy Columbus Day to you all! We celebrate Columbus Day today in remembrance of the discovery of America in 1492. So today, I thought it apropos to write about something that was not discovered today but that could have just as great an impact on our lives. In my last blog, I spoke of early detection of diabetes using insulin instead of current methods using blood sugar. Moving forward, I will introduce the link between insulin and other medical conditions that may be as valuable as the discovery of America because it may save your life!

So on the day we celebrate discovery and the month we celebrate breast cancer awareness (this month marks the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month), I am going to write about something everyone should know: The link between insulin and breast cancer.

What we know about higher insulin levels:

1. A link exists between high insulin levels, overweight and both diabetes and breast cancer. Women with diabetes are 20% more likely to get breast cancer than women without diabetes. http://www.diabeticcareservices.com/diabetes-education/breast-cancer-and-diabetes

2. High insulin levels are linked to increased breast cancer risk for all women but especially true for post-menopausal women
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090709170819.htm

3. High insulin levels contribute to breast cancer recurrence, http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/100/8/530

4. Higher insulin levels indicate a lower rate of breast cancer survival regardless of weight. Both overweight and thin women with high insulin levels have a lower chance to survive breast cancer. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/320/7248/1496/a

Help yourself live a healthy life. Eat foods that do not provoke blood sugar spikes to help keep insulin levels in normal levels.

1. Non-starchy vegetables
2. fish, poultry, meat
3. nuts and seeds and nut butters
4. low glycemic fruit
5. legumes
6. Misc., shredded coconut, avocado, olives, real butter, ghee

We know that some carbohydrates are converted to sugar rapidly in our bodies and insulin is automatically released to bring blood sugar down. Avoid foods that have this affect on our bodies.

1. Sweets, desserts and commercially prepared foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup, maltodextrin, sugar
2. high glycemic carbohydrates, potato, pasta, rice, cold cereal
3. large meals

A nutrition team at the University of Connecticut has supporting evidence of the link between eating high carbohydrate food and insulin responses http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/134/4/880 and health experts agree, http://www.ultraprevention.com/healing/insulin_resistance.htm.

So I urge you to speak to your doctor about checking insulin levels as part of your annual check-up. Howard Strickler, M.D., M.P.H. believes that checking insulin levels to screen and identify breast cancer early would prove to be a useful tool in breast cancer prevention. “It is also possible that screening non-diabetic postmenopausal women for high insulin levels could prove useful in identifying individuals at high risk for breast cancer,” says Dr. Strickler, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-01/aeco-hil010909.php.

There is a common denominator amongst breast cancer and diabetes and insulin is its name. This advice could save your life or the life of someone you know, act now. Get insulin levels tested! If you want to take a quick test to determine if you may have high insulin or hormone levels, check out my book on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic-Exercise/dp/159486828X.

 

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Preservatives Beyond Trans Fats and HFCS

I have always felt strongly about eating foods that are as natural as possible. Consuming additives and preservatives that help extend shelf life can be like playing Russian roulette. There has been publicity on the poor health effects of trans fats and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), even though I have seen ads that attempt to refute this, but in my opinion most of the food (and beverage) supply is tainted with anything that will help improve the bottom line of profits without a care for your health. 

I have put together a list of websites that I found to be interesting. It may seem to focus on soda but keep in mind many foods contain these same preservatives.

“Feed your child less sugar and other sweeteners. Studies have shown that drinking the equivalent of two and a half 12-ounce cans of soda can reduce the ability of immune-fighting white blood cells by 40 percent. — http://www.parenting.com/article/Pregnancy/Health/Ask-Dr-Sears-Immune-System-Boosters

Martin Hickman a consumer affair correspondent reported a link between Sodium Benzoate (SB) with damage to DNA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA) specifically referencing a few health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, cirrhosis of the liver and hyperactivity in children. –http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/caution-some-soft-drinks-may-seriously-harm-your-health-450593.html
 
“Just like trans fat, sodium benzoate is naturally found in some foods, cranberries, prunes, plums, apples and cinnamon”. This is a perfect example of why you should not eat too much of any one food but also if apples provide SB naturally, you sure do not want to consume excess SB from a smorgasbord of commercially prepared foods.  Our pets are not immune to our tainted food supply, for all you animal lovers start reading labels for your pet too! –http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Sodium_benzoate

You may also be interested in additional “Quotes from the Experts”– http://www.organicconsumers.org/school/cocacola021605.cfm

This is not supposed to alarm you, well maybe just a little. Try to keep things in perspective and make better food choices to maintain a healthy body and a good quality of life. It is very easy to lose sight of ingredients that are used in foods and can effect your health when everyone is shoving the “low fat message” down your throat. BTW, this can also be true for commercially prepared low carbohydrate foods too.

There are companies that realize there is a demand for “clean” foods and are trying to provide consumers with healthier choices. I can list a few products and I’m sure there are more. Anyone care to add to the list?

1. Beverages:
Celestial Seasonings herbal tea, http://www.amazon.com/Celestial-Seasonings-Tangerine-Orange-20 Count/dp/B000E65OJC/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1249198101&sr=1-5
V-8 100% vegetable juice original flavor, http://www.v8juice.com/Products.aspx

2. Ice cream:
Haagen Dazs Five, http://www.haagendazs.com/products/five.aspx            Breyers http://www.breyersicecream.com/#/flavors/

3. Chocolate:
Endangered species, http://www.chocolatebar.com/nutrition3.asp                         Vivani http://internaturalfoods.com/Vivani/Vivani.html

 

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