Thursday, October 07, 2010

hfcs makes you fat.

There is a new ad campaign taking over the airwaves for high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The Corn Refiners Association wants everyone to know that “hey, corn syrup is AWESOME. It totally doesn’t make you fat at all. It’s really good for you too. Seriously - eat it!! It’s good stuff!”. Check out their website – aptly named “sweet surprise”. Huh. Really? Because, the last time I checked, HFCS is just about the worst stuff you can ingest, and it is hidden is just about every form of processed food sold in North America. I'll let you do your own google search on HFCS - it's some nasty stuff.
The premise behind this new pro-HFCS campaign is that our bodies don’t know the difference between HFCS and regular sugar. Even if that's true (which I don't believe to be the case) the problem is that most people don’t pour regular sugar on everything they eat just for the sake of eating more sugar. Why does sugar need to be in your bread? Cereal? Baby food? Ketchup? The list goes on and on and it’s actually mind blowing once you get a grasp on just how much HFCS is hidden in our food.

Anyway, it’s all well and good for me to come on here and talk a bunch of ish about HFCS, but who really cares if I can’t prove that this stuff makes you fat? Starting today I am cutting HFCS out of my diet. Completely. And I’m going to write about how hard it is, what foods it’s in that I had no idea it was in, and how much weight I lose as a result of not eating this garbage.

So far today I’ve ingested:
  • 2 cups of coffee with cream and stevia
  • 1 apple
  • Cucumber, tomatoes, orange pepper (my afternoon snack)
I had to skip my usual Oatmeal Crisp cereal because it has “corn syrup” in it, which mixed in with other ingredients like whole grain rolled oats and barley malt extract sounds kind of healthy, right? Wrong…so wrong. I’m hungry. I need to go find a bail of hay to gnaw on. Or maybe I’ll just eat this orange on my desk?  I feel skinnier already - where are those pre-baby jeans at?


  1. I think there are two options for avoiding HFCS. The cheap one is to just make stuff yourself (in addition to eating whole foods most of the time) and the more expensive one is to buy any packaged foods from the "healthfood" section of the supermarket. I usually make my own stuff, but sometimes I just feel like buying a box of cereal, dammit! :) so I get it from the healthfood section. Not all "healthy" brands are free from HFCS but most are.

    That said, here's my granola recipe!

  2. Anonymous2:29 p.m.

    Question: How does the HFCS usally appear in the list of ingredients on processed cereals, etc.? Sometimes I am not sure if the sucrose/fructose I see is HFCS. (mb)

  3. Good question mb...maybe Jennifer can shed some more light on it for us! In the meantime, this article is pretty good.

  4. Hey this should be interesting!

    Sucrose is table sugar - the granulated stuff. Sucrose does have fructose in it. In other countries, HFCS is called glucose/fructose (like a Canadian label).

    Good luck! We avoid food coloring - also in a mind blowing amount of stuff - so I know how hard it can be!

    Don't forget to check the labels on your crackers, vegetables if w/sauce, soups, and even McD's CROUTONS have HFCS in them.

  5. making your own food is the best way to avoid most of the crappy stuff. It is however time consuming, not to mention the dishes - oh man so many dishes to wash.

    But its worth it!

    We try to buy local eat whole(especially these days the farmers markets are in full swing - yummmy- I have really made the most of our local weekend farmers markets this season).

  6. lunch was a bit of a challenge - I'm going to have to start bringing it (yay for my pocket book!). Dinner = shrimp, broccoli, rice. Good news - dark chocolate is HFCS free!

  7. Bravo Kat!! I've been researching the North American food system and ranting about this stuff for a while ... my latest album is basically a jab at the food & petroleum industries. 2 tunes feature a rapper and have relevant lyrics:

    see lyrics here:

  8. Hey,
    You might want to know that CORN SYRUP (not HFCS) is different. It's glucose, which is not processed through the liver (like HFCS and table sugar/sucrose are) and is metabolized differently. If you have liver problems, corn syrup might actually be BETTER for you!

  9. ah good to know! thanks for the tip :-)

    For now I figure avoiding things in boxes and cans is probably a good place to start ;-)

  10. @ Milehimama - great point ... it's the processing that makes HFCS so bad for us, not necessarily the corn sugar itself in its natural form. This is why it is advised to eat whole foods and not processed derivatives (read Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food"). Apparently it's the fructose portion of it that's harmful to the liver ... I can't remember where I read it, but there's been a lot of chatter lately about the fact that you never find fructose in nature without fibre (ex. oranges, apples) - we'd never eat 3 whole oranges, we'd be too full, but we think nothing of drinking 3 or 4 oranges worth of juice. Plus I'm sure there's all sorts of factors, how all the elements in a whole food interact with one another and our digestive system, that make it better to just eat a real orange instead of drinking "orange punch".

  11. I posted a big post about HFCS, fructose, varying amounts, etc.

    And definitely, fruit is a different story. You have fiber, pectins, sugars, vitamins, micronutritents, plus the sensual experience of taste, smell, texture that you don't get with HFCS - all of these are cues for eating.