I typically eschew labels, especially when it comes to clothes and people. But in my ongoing quest for healthy living I’ve become an avid label reader. Ever since I caught Dr. Oz on Oprah talking about the hidden dangers in food, I’ve become that person. You know, the one people have to push their carts around in the narrow grocery aisle as I weigh the benefits of one spaghetti sauce over the other. And the biggest hidden culprit that just blows my mind is high fructose corn syrup. Forget fat or carbs — we’re awash in sugar.
Almost all nutritionists consider high fructose corn syrup consumption as a major player in America’s obesity crisis. The inexpensive sweetener flooded the American food supply in the early 1980s, just about the time the nation’s obesity rate and type 2 diabetes started their unprecedented climb.
The question is, why did it make us so fat? Is it simply the Big Gulp syndrome — that we’re eating too many empty calories in ever-increasing portion sizes? Or, does the fructose in all that corn syrup do something more insidious — literally short-wire our metabolism and force us to gain weight? The debate can divide a group of nutritional researchers almost as fast as whether the low-carb, no-fat or Atkin’s diets are fact or fad.
Whatever the results of the final arguments, I’m all about determining the one thing I can do to make a difference for my family. So, if you consider yourself health-conscious at all (and I mean at all), go directly to your pantry and fridge for a label-reading session. If high fructose corn syrup is in the top 3-5 ingredients, toss it! If you’re like most consumers, you won’t believe how much space you’ll free up. And you’ll never believe where you’ll find it: Low-fat snack crackers, light mayo, low-fat yogurt, applesauce, ketchup, light croutons, and other purported “diet” products. For more useful info on high fructose corn syrup, click here.
I may not be one to label but I’m a happily self-professed label reader. And by all means, please let me know if there’s a food you’ve found high fructose corn syrup in that you just had to see the label to believe!
Author by Kristi Anderson