Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BEEware the High Fructose Corn Syrup!'

The New York Times reported a story about beehives in Brooklyn where the bees are producing bright red honey. It seems that despite having ample natural fruits and flowers right near their hive, the bees are drawn to fly 3 miles away to a maraschino cherry factory and fill up on the sweet red juice, bringing it back to their hives and making honey that is so full of red dye #40 and high fructose corn syrup the honey "has a metallic taste and is overly sweet." 

High fructose corn syrup (hfcs) was the first sugar I removed from my food plan completely. Vigilance at reading labels is required because it is in so many foods - including foods that do not normally contain sugar. Foods such as canned beans, tomato paste, non-fat creamer, salad dressings, cereals, potato chips, onion dip - all have been found containing hfcs. In my journey to a healthier and leaner me I found giving up hfcs to be an educational experience.  I have long believed that hfcs had the qualities to cause an addictive reaction from people who have food issues. The bodies of these bees are now turning red. The owners of the bee hives fear that consumption of this substance will have unforeseeable effects on the hives. They also said that the 'corn-syrup-happy bees seem to glow red' as the sun is going down in the evenings, making them 'slightly florescent'. The actions and appearance of the bees bring to mind the expression "seeing is BEElieving."

I am not a doctor, chemist, or medical researcher. Please understand I write only about my experience and what I have learned from the educated experience of professionals who speak out on this product. What I have learned is that brain do not recognize hfcs as a sugar and that makes our brains look for more sugar. Our gut does recognize hfcs as a sugar but after awhile cannot send out enough defenses against it and we store more and more of the hfcs calories as fat. This is why those low fat cookies and cakes still make you fat. Excess sugar and/or calories are converted to fat storage in our bodies. 

The USA allows hfcs. It is a very cheap (the cheapest) source of sweetener for the food manufacturer. The US government subsidises corn growers and turning corn into hfcs is a low cost process that makes use of all that corn not used for other purposes.God forbid we should grow less corn.  High Fructose Corn Syrup is not permitted in European countries and they do not import food products from the USA containing hfcs.

Take McDonald's products as an example. You can find hfcs in everything at McDonald's - from the fries to the ketchup to the buns to the desserts. It is everywhere. But to do business in Europe the products had to be redesigned to not contain this ingredient. But here we have cheap hfcs to feed to the consumer and ever increasing quantities. 

Whether you are trying to keep the pounds off or just starting to get the pounds off, try forgoing any product that contains hfcs. Start with this one change in your diet and read EVERY LABEL no matter what. You will be amazed at the change in your body and the change in your reactions to food. If you are food-brand loyal you may have to change a few products but you will not regret giving up this additive that adds nothing to your life.

Keep your eyes and ears open to the news. The manufacturers of High Fructose Corn Syrup have petitioned to change the name of their product to "Corn Sugar." It is the same product with a new name. Do not be fooled. Since giving up hfcs I also removed all products that contain any corn syrup. It is not always easy but on the other hand I am keeping the pounds off. It is worth the effort.

What can you do today to wean yourself off of corn sweeteners?

~Jane


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